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Statement from President of Medical Council in relation to Cervical Check

Statement from President of Medical Council in relation to Cervical Check 


Monday, 6th August 2018:
The President of the Medical Council, Dr Rita Doyle, has today issued a statement expressing her concern at the levels of inaccurate information that is in the public domain as a result of the recent Cervical Check difficulties.

Dr. Doyle said “The Medical Council, in its role in protecting patients and supporting doctors, is very concerned at some of the inaccurate information that is in the public domain following the recent difficulties discovered with Cervical Check.

“The fact is cancer screening saves lives every week however screening is not a diagnostic exercise and there is an acceptable norm of false negative and indeed false positive results.

“The Cervical Check programme has decreased the mortality rate by 7% year on year since its inception, thus reducing the number of women who die from Cervical Cancer. This in itself is a good news story but has been somewhat lost in the varying issues that have emerged.

“Women should be encouraged to take part in the screening process in the full knowledge that it is a screening test and not a diagnostic one.

“Doctors who carry out the screening should also be supported in their access to timely Laboratory Analysis. I am aware of reports of a recent development of a bottle neck in the analysis of Cervical Smears, whereby smears are not analysed in a timely fashion thus forcing the woman to re-attend and the doctor to repeat the smear. This is unacceptable to both patients and doctors. This could have the potential to have a further negative impact on the publics confidence in screening services which would be very concerning.

“As a General Practitioner of over 30 years, I strongly encourage the public to continue to attend for screening appointments when invited to do so.

“The Medical Council eagerly awaits the publication of the Scally Report and we have also written to the Interim Director General of the HSE requesting information from any HSE reports commissioned into the matter of relevance to the Medical Councils remit. If there are issues around professional performance or conduct relating to individual doctors they will be investigated and dealt with by the Medical Council in a fair manner according to our procedures and regulatory powers.” concluded Dr. Doyle.

The Medical Council regulates medical doctors in the Republic of Ireland. The Council's purpose is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among doctors.

The composition of the Medical Council is set out by legislation (the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007). The membership is composed of 25 members, 13 non-medical members and 12 medical practitioners.

For further information please contact:
Alan Gallagher, Head of Communications, Medical Council 01 498 3185 / 087 3615253 agallagher@mcirl.ie / communications@mcirl.ie