Cervical Cancer Screening

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 12 November 2020.

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Photo of Mark McDonald Mark McDonald Independent

This week, 15,000 women across Scotland, including many of my constituents, discovered that letters inviting them for non-routine cervical screening and colposcopy treatment were not sent at the end of August, as they should have been. That has caused a great deal of anxiety for those women, because those tests are required because they are considered to be at greater risk of cervical cancer, due, for example, to family history or to previous smears having indicated the presence of pre-cancerous abnormalities. What assurances can the First Minister give that such an error will not happen again? What guarantees can she give that future delays will not result from dealing with this backlog? What assurances can she give to the constituents who I represent and who many across Parliament represent who are understandably extremely worried about the potential delay and the impact that it could have on early detection and treatment?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I am aware of the issue and I agree that it is a serious matter. I know that NHS National Services Scotland has already taken steps to understand the reason why it happened in order to make sure that it cannot happen again, and to communicate with women affected to—hopefully—reassure them that there is no impact in relation to their care, treatment and screening and to answer any other questions that they have. I will ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to write to Mark McDonald with more details of exactly the steps that NSS is taking so that he is able to reassure his constituents. Given that this issue will have affected some women in all parts of Scotland, I will make sure that that letter is also placed in the

Scottish Parliament information centre for the benefit of other MSPs.