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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00732: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, further to its news release of 6 June 2016, Women urged to go for smear test, what steps it is taking to improve the uptake of cervical screening among women (a) over 50, (b) with learning difficulties and (c) in deprived areas.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 24 June 2016

Scottish Government officials meet cervical screening coordinators from all NHS boards on a quarterly basis to share best practice in promoting cervical screening services, development of initiatives to improve uptake and how best to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.

The Scottish Government is currently working with NHS Health Scotland, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Cancer Research UK and the territorial boards to develop an awareness raising campaign which will aim to increase awareness of cervical screening among all women. During a second phase the campaign will be targeted towards women aged over 50. NHS boards have also sited information stalls at leisure centres and other community settings to target women over 50.

Recent local initiatives to increase the screening uptake for women with learning difficulties have included delivering training to day centre staff who work with people with learning difficulties and having dedicated staff working with women with learning difficulties, facilitating cervical screening and then assisting during appointments. We also encourage all NHS boards to utilise the information materials available to them in discussing cervical screening with women who have learning difficulties. In particular, the two easy read leaflets in NHS Health Scotland's 'Keep Yourself Healthy' series which deal with cervical screening, both of which are available to support people with learning difficulties in making an informed decision.

Initiatives which have taken place recently to increase uptake among women in deprived areas include events being held at local colleges; dedicated nurses working with the local homeless and travelling women to assist them with GP registration; and full health assessments including screening tests and evening clinics being held in GP practices in the most deprived areas.