Dr Padraig McGarry, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that the events of the past two weeks had seriously undermined confidence in CervicalCheck and could lead to reduced numbers of women presenting for testing.
Dr McGarry said that it was absolutely correct for a full review of the programme and the issues of this scandal to take place including the outsourcing issue, criteria of testing, frequency of testing and communication issues to patients.
“The tragedy for the women who have gone on to develop cervical cancer cannot be underestimated and they must be offered every support possible by the State. However we have a duty as medical professionals to encourage all women to continue to attend for both routine screening appointments and to consult with their GP on any concerns they may have regarding previous smear tests.”
The IMO has agreed a programme with Government for concerned women to visit their GP and if required to arrange a repeat smear test. GPs have a well-established relationship with their patients and it is important, particularly in this time of distressing news that women are reassured and have the opportunity to discuss matters of concern with their doctor, according to the IMO.
Dr McGarry said: “Screening is not perfect and is not a diagnostic tool but is nonetheless important in terms of the overall health of women.”