Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 21 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Cancer Screening Programme.
Ms Lynch Ms Lynch
289. Ms Lynch asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children how far advanced her plans are for the roll-out of a cervical screening programme; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that we have in Ireland one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in western Europe; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7129/06]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: Incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer in Ireland are in the mid-range of rates observed across Europe. Data supplied by the national cancer registry for the period 1994 to 2002 show that the average annual incidence of cervical cancer in this country was 170 and the average annual number of deaths from the disease was 80.
I am fully committed to the national roll-out of a cervical screening programme in line with international best practice. My Department has requested the Health Service Executive to prepare a detailed implementation plan for a national programme. The plan is to have cervical screening managed as a national call and recall programme via effective governance structures that provide overall leadership and direction, in terms of quality assurance, accountability and value for money. All elements of the programme, call and recall, smear taking, laboratories and treatment services must be quality assured, organised and managed to deliver a single integrated service.
Significant preparatory work is well under way involving the introduction of new and improved cervical tests, improved quality assurance training and the preparation of a national population register. My Department made available an additional €9 million to the executive for cancer services development in 2006, including the continuation of preparations for the roll-out.
I consider that the programme should be best rolled out in the primary care setting, subject to affordable and acceptable arrangements being agreed. A review of the contractual arrangements for the provision by general practitioners of publicly funded primary care services is being conducted at present, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. I have requested that the general practitioner elements of a national cervical screening programme be tabled  at these discussions. Any remuneration arrangements agreed must be capable of delivering a high uptake among women. Payments must be primarily based on reaching acceptable targets.
Dáil Éireann 615 Written Answers. Cancer Screening Programme.