Annacotty woman Vicky Phelan spoke to RTE's Prime Time last week
THE National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is advising patients they may experience some delay in getting an appointment to see their family doctor.
It comes due to the extra demand placed on general practice as a result of the ongoing Cervical Check controversy, thought to be affect 1,500 woman across Ireland.
More and more women are coming forward following the case of Limerick's Vicky Phelan, who was not informed about an incorrect smear test in 2011 until last year.
After the Annacotty mum-of-two, 43, was given the all-clear of abnormalities, she was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer in 2014. A review of her test was carried out in 2016, but she was not informed until 2017.
Due to extra demands from women seeking answers from their GPs, the NAGP has asked patients show patience.
“We advise that patients should contact Cervical Check helpline in the first instance, should they have any queries related to the Cervical Check programme,” the group said in a statement, “We have been advised, that if a patient would like to have a repeat smear, Cervical Check will facilitate this at no cost to the patient.”
They say that due to this, an “unprecedented” level of extra workload has been added to an already overburdened health service.
“GPs are receiving dozens of additional calls daily, as well as an unprecedented demand for consultations,” the group said, “We will always aim to see urgent cases on the same day, but patients may now have to wait several days for a routine consultation.”
The NAGP has called on the HSE to issue guidance to GPs soon, to help with providing information to its patients.
“Women should continue to attend for routine smears as part of the Cervical Check screening programme as normal. Screening saves lives, we cannot let recent events undermine this fact,” they concluded.