To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the accessibility of cervical screening to women with a physical disability.
NHS England is continuously investing in initiatives to help ensure equality of access to screening and, through the public health functions agreement (S7a), NHS England aims to improve public health outcomes and reduce inequalities.
General practitioner practices are required to ensure that their premises are suitable for the delivery of essential and where appropriate additional services, and that they are sufficient to meet the reasonable needs of its patients, including those with disabilities. This would involve making any reasonable adjustments necessary, or making alternative arrangements such as referral to a specialist screening provider or undertaking the procedures in another setting that is more suitable given any limitations to a patient’s mobility. Where a patient requires specialist equipment, clinical staff will ensure that patients have access to its use in a safe environment.
Guidance states that patients should be given an opportunity to express a preference in order to access a setting most appropriate to their needs.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England has asked Sir Mike Richards to lead a review of the current cancer screening programmes. The review will be finalised in autumn 2019, and will make recommendations to further improve the delivery of the screening programmes, including cervical screening. The Department will take forward the findings of the review once published.