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Dr Ina Kelly, Chair of the IMO Public Health and Community Health Committee said:
“In studying the report, our first thoughts obviously are for the women and families who have been directly impacted by this issue. There is much to consider in the report particularly with regard to governance issues and the identified systematic failures. We strongly support the reiteration of the importance of screening programmes and their value for wider population health. In the case of Cervical Check we encourage all women to continue to attend for routine screening and to avail of repeat screening if they have concerns. We also have advocated for and support the expansion of the screening programme to include HPV testing so as to improve the scope of the services for women and we urge the Government and Department of Health to ensure that sufficient resources are put in place so as to inform patients and practitioners as to the limitations but nonetheless the importance of screening and what this new initiative encompasses.”
“We also very much welcome the recognition that Specialists in Public Health Medicine ‘are accorded the same recognition as clinical colleagues’ and need to take a leading role in the delivery of national screening programmes and that their expertise is essential and should be deployed across the screening services with significant roles.”
The IMO stated it is committed to supporting measures that will lead to an effective and safe cervical screening programme, and indeed all other screening programmes, recognising both the importance and limitations of screening.
Also, the HSE issued a response to the report.
A spokesperson stated: “We would like to acknowledge the focus and commitment of Dr [Gabriel] Scally and his team and the patient-centred approach that they have taken in this regard.
”We are re-iterating our deepest apology to all those women and those families affected. At the centre of this issue was our failure to communicate with the women who were the subject of the audit. As Dr Scally noted, and with which we agree, these women should have been informed. The impact of this failure has been profound both for every single woman and all family members affected. We further accept that the manner in which women were told was inconsistent and in many instances ill-judged and poorly handled.
”The priority for the HSE over the past number of months has been to support the women and families involved and continue to stabilise the cervical screening programme. Designated liaison officers throughout the country are in ongoing contact with the women and families directly affected.”
We welcome confirmation by Dr Scally that the current laboratories have and continue to provide services in a quality assured manner.
We are now moving swiftly to implement all 50 recommendations and are continuing to thoroughly examine the findings