The Continued Wait for Smear Test Results
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris was warned by a gynaecologist located in the Mid-West region that his announcement of free repeat smear tests was “dangerous” and put the screening programme at risk.
“It is impossible to meet the current demand within recommended guidelines, making the system unsafe,” the letter says, which was sent to 20 other healthcare professionals and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The latest figures indicate that over 80,000 smear test samples are still in the system, compared with around 23,000 at any given time prior to that. Between May and October this year there was an increase of 75,000 smear tests being carried out, when compared to the same period last year.
“Smear reports are now taking over four months. This is dangerous,” the letter to Minister Harris warns.
The comparable turnaround time for smear reporting in the UK is two weeks. We cannot be held responsible for the resulting delay in cancer diagnosis. The first delayed diagnosis has arisen last week in our unit from a smear test taken in June 2018 and only now reported.
The increase is due to a number of factors: over 43,000 out-of-cycle smears, or free repeat smear tests have been carried out; an increase in the number of women attending their regular smears; and an increase in colposcopy referrals, which could be related to the increase in smear tests.
A colposcopy is an examination of the cervix, or the neck of the womb, to discern whether abnormal changes in the cells are present.
Financial Blueprint of a Medical Negligence Case
Medical Negligence and personal injury cases are often a topic of conversation in Ireland. A case is built on the strength of expert reports and testimony. The ancillary costs are driven up by lack of access to salient medical records and details. This further underlines the need for mandatory disclosure and the need for patients to have live access to their own updated medical records.
At Peter McDonnell & Associates we know from experience that the single greatest cause of worry for clients is the issue of legal fees and costs. People worry that before a case commences or at the end of their case, they will be presented with a large legal bill that will be impossible to pay.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.