Breast Screening
Cervical Screening
Bowel Screening
Diabetic Retina Screening


The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) today announces the availability of CervicalCheck, Ireland's first National Cervical Screening Programme.

CervicalCheck will provide free smear tests through primary care settings to the 1.1 million women aged 25 to 60 eligible for screening. A successful national programme in Ireland has the potential to cut current mortality rates from cervical cancer by up to 80%.

The overall aim of CervicalCheck is to reduce the incidence and the death rate from cervical cancer in Ireland. Free smear tests will be provided every three years for women aged 25 to 44 and every five years for women aged 45 to 60 years. The purpose of screening is to detect cell changes before they become cancerous. Most smear test results will be found to be normal with only a small number of women requiring further investigation or treatment.

A contract for the provision of smear taking services has been issued directly to GPs and medical practitioners in primary care settings nationwide. On acknowledgement of completed documentation, registered GPs and medical practitioners can provide free CervicalCheck smear tests to eligible women (aged 25 to 60).

Commenting on the contract acceptance rate, Tony O'Brien, CEO of the National Cancer Screening Service said: "Feedback to date has been extremely positive and the NCSS anticipates that national coverage of participating GPs and medical practitioners will build incrementally during the coming weeks. Already approximately 1,450 GPs, practice nurses and Family Planning / Well Woman clinics have sought to register. We are delighted with the medical community's response to CervicalCheck and are confident that this service will for the first time, offer all women aged 25 to 60 living in Ireland access to a quality assured, national cervical screening service."

Once the Programme is fully implemented and smeartakers (doctors and practice nurses) are registered across the country, it is expected that over 300,000 women will avail of CervicalCheck in the first year. Results will be provided to women within four weeks of having a smear test taken.

Commenting on the launch of CervicalCheck, Dr Marian O'Reilly, Head of Cervical Screening, (NCSS) said: "Our objective is to deliver a quality assured screening service to women in Ireland in line with best international practice. We are delighted to deliver this screening programme that can make a real difference to women's lives by significantly reducing the incidence and death from cervical cancer in Ireland."

Women can choose to have a free smear test from any smeartaker (doctor or nurse) registered with CervicalCheck, for example GPs and practice nurses, Family Planning Clinics, Well Woman Centres or Women's Health Clinics. Details of registered smeartakers are currently available from CervicalCheck on freephone 1800 45 45 55.

A CervicalCheck website ( is now available. The site contains information about the Programme, cervical screening, and having a smear test. Details of smeartakers will be added in time, as they register with CervicalCheck. This will enable women to choose a smeartaker of their choice in their local area. Other materials available include a suite of information brochures, the CervicalCheck Women's Charter and Programme news updates.


For further information: Clare Manning, Communications, National Cancer Screening Service

Tel: 01 865 9300 / 339


- back to top