CervicalCheck screening delays are 'unacceptable,' says Vicky Phelan 1 year ago

CervicalCheck screening delays are 'unacceptable,' says Vicky Phelan

"Women were terrified."

Vicky Phelan has said that the cervical screening result delays are "unacceptable" but that she believes offering all women free smear tests last year was the correct decision.

The campaigner said that women needed to know that they could avail of the screening service again, but that the resources were not there to cater for the amount of patients.

"I've always said I thought it was the right decision at the time because women were terrified," she told Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE's Today.

"The problem was it wasn't backed up with resources so they didn't have the capacity, we've been told there is no capacity and that is why there is this delay, which is unacceptable."

Phelan settled her High Court action with a US laboratory over false negative cervical cancer results this time last year.

She has since campaigned tirelessly for other women and families affected by the CervicalCheck screening controversy which saw over 220 patients given false negative results.

However, Phelan said that she main problems lay not with the screening programme itself, but with the way it was managed.

"I really didn't want women to stop going for screenings," she said, "and I knew that people were listening to me so I was very very, careful about what I said."

"It was the management of the screening programme and the way it was run. The programme has its faults but it has saved thousands of lives.

"What keeps me going is women who have never gone for a smear contacting me and saying that they've gone for one. Because this is all young women primarily affected by this cancer, and it's a horrible cancer with horrible side effects."

Phelan announced earlier this year that she was going to take a step back from campaigning to focus on her health and family.

She said that she was still going to contribute to conversations and the campaign, but that she would be doing so "on my own terms."