By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
I am very concerned about the reported delay in cervical cancer tests for women in Gauteng because of a backlog caused by problems at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).
The backlog dates back to February this year, and there are only 34 specialists at the NHLS to analyse the tests.
According to the Gauteng Health Department, there is a one-and-a-half month delay in testing samples, but some patients report a far longer waiting time.
Test delays could lead to death for many women as early diagnosis is important in treating cervical cancer.
It is inexcusable that the Department has taken no steps to speed up test results.
Private laboratories should be contracted urgently to help bring down the test backlogs.