Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that the disappointing administrative blunders in accrediting the Coombe Cervical Screening Laboratory were avoidable and demonstrate the need for greater investment in domestic screening laboratories.
He added that a single point of failure must be avoided.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Avoidable blunders have delayed the repatriation of 10% of cervical screening tests, which is a blow for patients and the health service.
“This is not a reflection on the quality of screening in Ireland – the screening service operates to the highest standards. The issue here is an administrative failure, which is highly disappointing.
“It is vital that women and people continue to participate in cancer screening programmes.
“The consequence of the indefinite closure, until the lab is properly accredited, is that samples will continue to be sent abroad due to the lack of domestic laboratory capacity.
“Repatriation of the majority of Cervical Check screening needs to be a political priority, and a priority for the health service. Investment in lab capacity, across the board, is needed to increase patient safety, and to improve the functioning and performance of the health service.
“The NCSL’s accreditation must be given the highest priority, and the lab must be reopened as soon as possible. There are existing staffing difficulties, and further delays will exacerbate this.
“Investment in the workforce and alternative capacity elsewhere in the State must be delivered to avoid a single point of failure in any eventuality going forward.”