This is due to the hugely increased demand placed on general practice as a result of the ongoing CervicalCheck controversy, it said.
“GPs are also experiencing a significant increase in calls from concerned patients which have led to patients experiencing difficulties getting through to their GPs. We would ask patients to bear with us through this time of increased workload,” outlined the Association.
“We advise that patients should contact CervicalCheck helpline in the first instance, should they have any queries related to the CervicalCheck programme. We have been advised, that if a patient would like to have a repeat smear, CervicalCheck will facilitate this at no cost to the patient.
“This has placed an unprecedented level of additional workload onto, what is already a deeply overburdened general practice system. GPs are receiving dozens of additional calls daily, as well as an unprecedented demand for consultations.
“Our members are telling us that this has placed a pressure greater than the influenza season on our members. We will always aim to see urgent cases on the same day, but patients may now have to wait several days for a routine consultation.
“We are hoping the HSE will issue guidance or advice to GPs soon, because at the moment we are facing many worried women daily but have no more information to provide them with, other than what is already in the public domain.
“Women should continue to attend for routine smears as part of the CervicalCheck screening programme as normal. Screening saves lives, we cannot let recent events undermine this fact.”