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Glimmer of hope in colposcopy campaign  22.09.08

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep the colposcopy service at Letterkenny Hospital have received a boost with news that the national cervical screening service CervicalCheck may in future make referrals to the local clinic.
Co-operating for Cancer Care (NW) is highly optimistic that, following discussions with CervicalCheck ceo Tony O’Brien and hospital manager Seán Murphy, CervicalCheck may be in a position to make referrals to the Colposcopy Clinic.
The group said it was "dismayed and alarmed" that Letterkenny was not included as one of the facilities initially identified to receive referrals from the programme. This would mean that women from Donegal who require colposcopy treatment would be expected to travel to Sligo Hospital.
CCC(NW) spokesperson Noelle Duddy explained: “Two of the most important aspects of any successful screening programme is to motivate the person to attend screening and follow-up treatment if required, and to make accessing the service as easy and as uncomplicated as possible.
"The travel distance from North Inishowen to Sligo, is approximately a 240 mile return journey and has the potential of deterring women from availing of this vital and much needed service. We need CervicalCheck to make referrals to colposcopy services at Letterkenny General Hospital."
CCC(NW) understands that the National Cervical Screening Programme requires Letterkenny Hospital to make adjustments to enhance the current colposcopy services. This is to ensure the delivery of a standardised level of quality assured care which meets the requirements of the screening service.
CCC(NW) said it has been assured by Mr O’Brien and Mr Murphy that both organisations are currently examining these issues together.
“It is of the utmost importance to the women of Donegal, that the issues pertaining to the delay in providing colposcopy services for CervicalCheck at Letterkenny, are addressed as soon as possible.”
CCC(NW) encouraged women eligible for the service to register for it and avail of it straight away.
The campaign group said it would continue to communicate with both parties to ensure that the needs of Donegal women were given priority attention.
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