Longford/Westmeath Fianna Fáil Deputy, Robert Troy, has stressed the urgent need for the recommencement of cancer screening services to prevent a surge in delayed diagnoses in the coming months.
Deputy Troy made the call after new figures were published, which showed that no mammograms were carried out in the month of April and there was a 96 percent decrease in the number of samples sent to cervical check labs at that time.
“The restoration of breast check and cervical check are vital for the health of women and a clear plan now needs to be put in place to address the backlog that has built up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Understandably these screening programmes were suspended as restrictions were put in place in hospitals and primary care centres, however the time has now come to ensure that screening services are recommenced as a matter of priority.
“It appears that the number of COVID-19 cases is decreasing steadily, and while the situation needs to be vigilantly monitored to prevent any potential second surge, I believe we also need to focus on non-COVID related diseases such as cancer. The safety of patients and staff must be central in any decision to restore these services, but I think the time has come to consider their reintroduction.
“I have written to the Minister for Health asking for an update in relation to the recommencement of these vital screening services in the region and throughout the country," Deputy Troy emphasised.
Minister must meet insurance companies
Meanwhile, Deputy Troy has received confirmation from the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, that he has not met with and has no plans to meet with individual insurance companies despite being aware that they are refusing to pay out on genuine claims.
Deputy Troy was commenting as it was reported that Insurance Ireland accepted in a private meeting with Minister Donohoe that some businesses had a strong case for their business interruption claims to be paid out. Despite this, certain insurers are still refusing to pay out.
“In response to my PQ the Finance Minister says he has no plans to meet with individual insurance companies. He is well aware that there are businesses out there being put to the pin of their collar by insurance companies who are refusing to pay out on genuine claims but yet he is still not meeting with the insurance companies – this isn’t acceptable.
“This meeting shows us is that there are approximately 35,000 policies with business interruption cover for infectious disease across the country in total. That is a drop in the ocean with some insurers having 500,000 plus policy holders on their books, so the argument that paying out on these claims would cripple the industry is totally diminished.
“Minister Donohoe met with all of the CEO’s of the pillar banks so why not the CEO’s of insurance companies? We have a situation here where FBD originally told some businesses they would be covered and now they have done a U-turn on that. It smacks of bad faith.
“This further reinforces my calls that the Minister meet with the individual insurance companies and impress on them the need to meet their obligations. We can’t have a situation going forward where businesses are having to go down the road of long, protracted legal battles – this needs to be sorted now,” Deputy Troy asserted.