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THE WESTERN STAR
STEPHENVILLE, N.L. — Despite a pap test clinic being reinstated in Stephenville until May 2020, Diane Murphy wants to see it in place permanently.
The Stephenville woman recently called for the clinic to be reinstated after she couldn’t get a booking and was told she could call Corner Brook and book a screening there.
“I’d like to see something more permanent put in place before that date comes up so there wouldn’t be a lapse,” Murphy said.
While Eastern Health wouldn’t provide an interview, an emailed reply said Eastern Health’s Cancer Care Program manages the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program across the province and has been working with a primary care physician to resolve an issue related to offering pap tests in the Stephenville area.
The release said pap tests for patients in Stephenville will continue as they have in the past.
The pap test clinic takes place on one Saturday per month — except for January and February — until May 2020.
Eastern Health said the clinic will resume in the Stephenville area, starting Nov. 16. Patients are advised to call (709) 634-8558, starting Nov. 1, to schedule an appointment. It said Eastern Health’s Cancer Care Program, through the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program, has provided funding to a general practitioner through an access-to-service grant until May.
Asked if the clinic will continue beyond May 2020, Eastern Health only said it looks forward to continuing to work with this clinic and thanks patients for their patience as it works to put a plan in place.
The local clinic has been operating for a number of years to provide tests on one Saturday per month, seven months of the year, and is run by the general practitioner and her team. The clinic is dependent on the availability of the general practitioner to continue to provide the service.
The Cervical Screening Initiatives Program would welcome requests from primary care providers in the area who may be interested in offering this service in Stephenville.
Laura Aylward, chairperson of the West Coast Health Care Action Committee and a Stephenville town councillor, said she was pleased to hear the clinic was reinstated and will be looking to find out what will happen after May.
She said with about 50 pap tests done at each clinic, it’s an important service that should not be dropped.
“I’m glad to hear that local women brought their concerns on this to the forefront,” Aylward said.
Murphy said it’s an important service for women from Port aux Basques to Cape St. George and losing it would not be good for the health of women.