General Practitioner Dr Sonia Nixon is calling on the government to quickly address the problem caused by a backlog of results for Pap tests which she sees as disappointing news.
“I am sad to hear this because we really hinge our education on early diagnosis for cancers and to save lives. Pap smears are one of the most efficient ways of diagnosing cancers early. I really hope that this is resolved shortly. The fact that they have a backlog is probably a good sign it means that we are screening,” she told The Grenadian Voice.
The backlog came to light in a January 08 article when this newspaper learnt that someone who had a test done last October, is still awaiting results. Minister responsible for Hospital Services Hon Delma Thomas explained that there were several contributing factors noting that there is only one professionally certified cytologist in Grenada who serves both public and private institutions.
While this newspaper has learnt that there are still outstanding results from October last year, Minister Thomas said the situation is gradually being addressed, noting that the cytologist had completed the tests from October, with those from November and December to be examined.
In examining the issue Dr Nixon, Former Senior medical officer responsible for chronic disease and a volunteer with the cancer society as the interim Chairman said, “I don’t think we should use the excuse that the person works with the private sector because that should at least give us more results because people do seek pap smears in the private sector. Every woman is important when it comes to testing so I am really disappointed and sorry that we have a backlog.”
She is calling on Government to “find a way to solve that problem ASAP because we do encourage women to get pap smears.”
Minister Thomas confirms that Pap tests are the only results with a backlog and that all other laboratory test results are provided on time at the General Hospital.
An update on the situation was sought this week, but the Minister referred us to Permanent Secretary Hanna St Paul, who had not returned our call by press time.
We also put our questions about laboratory turn-around time for test results to the Chief Medical Officer, the Director of Hospital Services and private physicians. None was able to respond.