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Cervical Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to enable people who are housebound due to (a) a physical and (b) a mental health condition to access smear tests.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

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.

NHS England is continuously investing in initiatives to help ensure equality of access to screening and, through the Section 7A public health functions agreement, aims to improve public health outcomes and reduce inequalities.

Professor Sir Mike Richards’ review of Adult Screening programmes was published on 16 October 2019 and recognised that people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or mental health conditions tend to have lower uptake of screening programmes than the general population. Professor Richards’ report included recommendations on improving access to services for and sharing good practice on physical and learning disabilities. The Department is considering the report with NHS England and Public Health England and will publish an implementation plan in the spring.

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