Progress on cervical smear review must be increased: Dodds

Upper Bann MLA Diane Dodds has said it is vital that progress on the review of cervical smears within the Southern Trust area must be increased. She made the call during a debate today in the Assembly on a Women’s Health Strategy.

By Diane Dodds MLA

Upper Bann

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The DUP MLA said, “It is important that we have a strategy focusing on women’s health, and particularly one that is joined-up and specific. Amongst the areas needing action are the review of cervical smears in the Southern Trust area.

Smears from the period of January 2008 until October 2021 17,000 women have had letters telling them they are part of the review and that it might require further action. That has caused obvious stress and worry, and whilst the Trust has offered fantastic support, there remains a need to speed up this process.

To date only around 1,700 slides have been reviewed and just over 1,000 letters issued. That leaves a very significant backlog which must be reduced as quickly as possible. It was welcomed to hear confirmation from the Minister that plans have been developed to address this review and I look forward to seeing this implemented.

Even with that action there remain outstanding issues, including a low uptake of appointments in relation to the cervical screening. The national performance level for that is 90% but the Southern Trust has adopted a lower performance level. There must be reassurance from the Department that this will be reviewed and performance of this vital area is kept at an appropriate level.”

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