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Experts state that decision to outsource testing of cervical smears was political – O’Reilly

23 May, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Speaking after this morning’s Oireachtas Health Committee meeting, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said she is quite concerned at the evidence given where experts stated that it was their belief that the decision to outsource the testing of cervical smears was a political decision apparently motivated by cost.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The evidence given at this morning’s Health Committee meeting on screening programmes and the outsourcing of cervical smear testing to the US raises serious cause for concern.

“In response to questions I put to representatives from the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association and the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine on the issue of outsourcing, the experts stated their belief that the decision to outsource the testing of cervical smears was a political decision taken by the Fianna Fail government in 2008.

“When I questioned the experts this morning and asked them if the decision to outsource was a clinical one, Gerrard O’Mahony the former Chief Medical Scientist at the Cytology Department of Cork University Hospital said the decision to outsource to the US came line a ‘bolt out of the blue’, as neither he nor anyone in the cytology fraternity at that time had assessed the clinical suitability of the US lab.

“In addition to questioning on the political decision to outsource and the lack of a clinical consideration, Dr Irene Regan, President of the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine, stated that Ireland seems to be the only country that outsources any part of its screening programmes to another country.

“The information provided to the Health Committee today raises many more questions about the issue of outsourcing in general as well as the decision to outsource the testing of smear tests by the Fianna Fail government in 2008 and any role that decision played in the CervicalCheck scandal.” 

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