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Health Minister wants to re-introduce cancer screening as soon as possible

Public cancer screening programmes such as BreastCheck and CervicalCheck have been suspended for over ten weeks

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Handout photo of Minister for Health Simon Harris at the Government Buildings Press Centre in Dublin, addressing the media on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland.

Handout photo of Minister for Health Simon Harris at the Government Buildings Press Centre in Dublin, addressing the media on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland.

Handout photo of Minister for Health Simon Harris at the Government Buildings Press Centre in Dublin, addressing the media on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland.

The Health Minister said he wants to re-introduce routine cancer screenings as soon as possible.

It comes amid concern at a backlog following the pausing of Breastcheck, CervicalCheck and BowelScreen due to the pandemic.

Labour leader Alan Kelly called on the HSE to confirm  screening programmes will return.

“The fact that most public cancer screening programmes such as BreastCheck and CervicalCheck have been suspended for over ten weeks is causing a great deal of stress, particularly among women.”

“Eleven thousand screens take place each month.

“One person dies of cancer every hour in this country.

“Some can’t be prevented but some can if they are found early enough.”

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly speaking on the plinth of Leinster House, Dublin.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly speaking on the plinth of Leinster House, Dublin.

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly speaking on the plinth of Leinster House, Dublin.

“We need a clear roadmap outlining when exactly screening will re-start, what the testing capacity will be and what the turnaround time of results will be.”

Health Minister Simon Harris told the Dail, the HSE are currently developing capacity planning for the ongoing delivery of non Covid-19 services.

“They will examine the issue of screening as part of the non -Covid healthcare plan.

“I want to be in a position to recommence our population screening programmes as soon as possible.

“It has to be safe for patients and staff.

“We all appreciate screening involves close contact which presents problems for staff in terms of physical distancing.”

He urged patients showing symptoms to take action, saying: “If you’re symptomatic today, please, please, please go and see your GP.”

PA