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Smear test inaccuracy outrageous and alarming - Mary Lou McDonald

2 November, 2006


Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has described the rate of inaccurate smear test results as both outrageous and alarming. Speaking today after it was revealed that up to thirty percent of smear tests in Ireland give the wrong results due to human error Ms. McDonald urged the Government to do all in its power to help a major new research project on automated screening which should be able to reduce the inaccuracy rate of smear tests to around two percent.

Ms. McDonald said, "The rate of inaccurate smear tests announced today is both outrageous and alarming. It will do nothing to help encourage women to have regular tests to reduce the risks of cancer and, worse still, it is giving many women a false sense of security when in reality their lives could be at risk.

"The thirty percent of inaccuracy rate is accredited to human error and is, surprisingly, in line with international failure rates. However, a major new research project is under way on automated screening which should be able to reduce inaccuracy rates of smear tests to around two percent. I would encourage the Government to do all in its power in terms of funding and resources to help this project and to reduce the time needed to get the required results.

"It is imperative that these inaccuracy rates are reduced to a minimum so that women who are at risk are no longer given a false sense of security and women who are not at risk can be given a clear sense of security." ENDS

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