Gynaecological examination bed with stirrups for cervical smear test

The ongoing delay in publishing a recovery plan for cancer screening is completely unacceptable.

Cancer screening has been paused for months and this means that for some people, their best chance to catch cancer at the earliest opportunity is being missed.

Alongside the publication of a recovery plan for screening services, we want assurances that investment will be provided to create the additional physical space, staff and equipment that is needed to manage the growing backlog in a safe environment. This extra capacity is vital, given cancer services cannot effectively clear the backlog without impacting on patient outcomes.

We believe increased funding will be essential and the plan to resume cancer screening cannot be based on what resources were available pre-COVID.

A screening programme helps find cancers at an early stage and generally before people have symptoms. In normal times, it is an important component of Ireland’s overall cancer prevention and early detection strategy. Finding cancer at the earliest opportunity is the best chance someone has of successful treatment and a good quality of life.