'Devastating' news for 17,500 women in the Southern Trust as cervical smears review is delayed
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Mr O'Dowd was speaking after hearing the news that the Belfast Trust have had their cytology services temporarily suspended. The MLA said: “This news will be devastating for the 17500 women in the Southern Trust awaiting a review of their smear.
“Sinn Féin has asked for an urgent update from the Health Department on the reason for the suspension of services in the Belfast Trust. This must be addressed urgently as it is becoming very clear that services for women’s health across the North is not fit for purpose.
“HPV testing is due to begin in December, this is the most modern and accurate method of testing for cervical cancer, and should have been in place long ago, however we need reassurance that this will happen, and that all Health Trusts can do this safely.
“We need the Assembly restored now and all parties working together to ensure this is delivered. We also need an Executive restored to deliver a women’s health strategy which begins to address health inequalities facing women today.”
In October the Southern Trust revealed: “In July 2022, senior laboratory staff notified the Trust’s management team that they had concerns about performance in some steps of their laboratory’s screening system. To fully investigate these concerns, the Trust commissioned the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath Consulting) to undertake an independent assessment of its cervical screening services from 1 January 2008 and October 2021.”