Nearly 90% of women have not responded to cervical screening invitations

Conference told that people are afraid to attend health settings due to Covid-19

Dr Noirin Russell, clinical director of CervicalCheck said it had sent out more than 110,000 invitations but only 12,000 women had attended. Photograph: iStock

Dr Noirin Russell, clinical director of CervicalCheck said it had sent out more than 110,000 invitations but only 12,000 women had attended. Photograph: iStock

 

Nearly 90 per cent of women have not responded to invitation to undergo cervical cancer screening in recent months, the annual conference of the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association has been told.

Dr Noirin Russell, clinical director of CervicalCheck said it had sent out more than 110,000 invitations but only 12,000 women had attended.

“We see this across all areas of healthcare. People are afraid to interact with healthcare and to come into healthcare settings because of fear of Covid-19.”

“And that is deeply worrying and concerning”, she told the conference on Saturday.

Dr Russell said that CervicalCheck had been back up and running since early July as part of a managed re-start.

She said there had been a culture in CervicalCheck that women had received their first invitation letter and waited for the first and second reminder. I would like to urge women to attend on their first invitation.

She said a social media campaign was launched last week to encourage women to attend.

However she said there was “ a lot of fear out there”.

“This is not just applicable in cervical cancer screening. We are seeing it across healthcare. People are afraid to come into healthcare settings. We are not alone in that.”