Speaking after hosting an event in Stormont’s Long Gallery in memory of Derry woman Sorcha Glen who died from cervical cancer, Ms McLaughlin said;
“In 2014 I and a number of party colleagues had a meeting with the new CEO and staff in the Foyle hospice in Derry.
“As we were leaving a young woman was being wheeled into the hospice who was obviously very ill. While I didn’t know who she was I was struck by how young she was.
“That young women was Sorcha Glenn diagnosed with cervical cancer at 22 years-old and who tragically lost her life in October 2014 aged just 23 years-old.
“This has left a lasting impression on me which over the last year has been strengthened by the courage, dignity and strength of her family, personified through her mum Christina.
“Sorcha’s story becomes even more tragic when we realise that she had asked for a smear test but was turned down as she was under 25.
“Cervical screening is about preventing cancer not simply detection and health officials should reconsider the policy of only offering screening to over 25s.
“Since 2007 there has been a threefold increase in the number of 25 year-olds with cervical cancer.
“We must work to ensure that Sorcha’s legacy is helping to prevent further tragic deaths from this illness.”