To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women with physical disabilities are able to access cervical screening services.
No woman should be unable to access screening services because they have a disability. NHS England is continuously investing in initiatives to help ensure equality of access to screening and, through the public health functions agreement (S7A), 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 services and that they are sufficient to meet the reasonable needs of its patients, including those with disabilities. This involves making any necessary reasonable adjustments; 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.
Professor Richards’ review of National Adult Screening programmes was published on 16 October. As part of this review, it was recommended that good practice on physical disabilities is shared to enable this to be adopted more widely. The Department, NHS England and Public Health England are considering the recommendations of Professor Richards’ report as part of a wider Screening Improvement Programme and are intending to publish an implementation plan in spring 2020.