Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today expressed fury at reports from women in the Louth area who have been told that the free smear tests promised by Simon Harris in the wake of the Cervical Check scandal will cost up to €85 if women elect to have their smear tests analysed in this state, rather than outsourced to American labs.
Deputy Munster said:
“I received calls today from women in my constituency who were outraged to learn from their GPs this week that they would have to pay €85 for a repeat smear test, despite claims made by Ministers Simon Harris and Regina Doherty that free smear tests would be available for all women who had concerns about the Cervical Check scandal and wished to take an additional test.”
“In cases where women choose for their lab work to be carried out in this state, they have been asked to pay €50 for a GP visit and €35 for the smear test.”
“For reasons that must be obvious even to the government since Vicky Phelan went public with her story, many women in Ireland have lost confidence in the outsourcing of lab tests to the United States, and would prefer that their tests be carried out at home.”
“It is disingenuous of Simon Harris to announce that these repeat tests are free, when in fact they are not”.
“It is clear that despite all the hurt, damage, and deaths that this scandal has caused, that the government has learned absolutely nothing.”
“After all that’s happened the government should arrange to have free smear tests carried out and tested in Ireland. It’s the least they could do.”
Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin TD for Louth, has expressed his “anger and outrage at the cervical smear scandal” and the “efforts of some in the HSE to deny the women victims of misdiagnosis truth and transparency”.
The Louth TD has written to the Minister asking him a series of questions about the lack of transparency and accountability around this issue, the state policy of pursuing victims through the courts and how many women in Louth were affected by the misdiagnosing of the cervical smear tests and were not informed by their doctors of this”.
Gerry Adams said:
“The current scandal relating to smear tests for cervical cancer has only emerged because of the courage of Vicky Phelan. Without her determination to get to the truth the public might never have known of the many women whose smear tests were misdiagnosed and then covered-up. Her courage in combatting the disgraceful way she and her husband were treated in court has also served to highlight the way in which the state deals with victims who seek legal redress. This is unacceptable.
Over the last few days I have been contacted by women from Louth who are fearful that their cervical smear tests, which they thought were clear, may have been misdiagnosed. Tonight’s revelation by Minister Harris that “a considerable number of cases will not have been subjected to an audit of their screening history” has increased these fears”.
Gerry Adams also criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for “opposing past efforts by Sinn Féin and others to ensure that there is duty of candour by health professionals that guarantees that patients are given the fullest information about their case.”