Urgent GP referrals for patients to secure a mammogram are now taking up to 12 weeks to secure, and that is totally unacceptable, according to Mayo deputy Rose Conway Walsh.

The Sinn Fein deputy said she listened in dismay to a woman on our Lunchtime News yesterday who said she was informed that her BreastCheck appointment, a service for breast cancer screening for woman aged over 50, was delayed for up to 12 months.

The National Screening Unit, explained yesterday in a statement to Midwest News that the delay was in relation to “ women who are well” being called for cancer screening, but insisted that if anyone felt unwell or had concerns, they should visit their GP and if necessary would be referred for further investigation.

However, today, deputy Rose Conway Walsh says that she has been contacted by women and GPs who say that they are being told, that urgent referrals for mammograms are now being informed that the wait is likely to be between 10 and 12 weeks.

Deputy Conway Walsh has described this situation as “alarming” as she says she knows of a woman who went to her GP very worried and upset, having discovered a significant lump in her breast, the woman’s GP made an urgent referral for his patient to get a mammogram, and has been told of the extensive waiting period to access the service.

The deputy says it is completely unfair that if this woman could afford to go “private” to secure a mammogram she could get it next week, but because she is on a medical card the waiting time for urgent mammogram referrals is now almost three months.

The deputy has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley this lunchtime…

 

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