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Attending cervical screening is a patient choice, but some patients may not have that choice available for many reasons – from lack of understanding through to inappropriate equipment or adjustments. Understanding these patients and evaluating how you can offer them the correct support can help improve access to cervical screening.
Start by reviewing how well your surgery is performing against national and local statistics:
How well is your surgery currently doing at improving access to cervical screening? Here are some key things to think about before taking action.
In order to determine whether your current cervical screening practice is meeting the needs of your local and patient demographic, you need to understand the patients you are trying to make the test more accessible for.
Think about the population in your local area:
Now consider the following:
You should be able to see if there are any patient groups who may not currently be able to access cervical screening easily.
All staff should be trained in the area of cervical screening relevant to their role:
To encourage further learning and development, you could:
Once you have an understanding of your target population and staff are trained, you can begin to think about how you can offer your patients the best access to and experience of cervical screening.
Conversation and awareness is at a high during campaign weeks such as Cervical Cancer Prevention Week in January and Cervical Screening Awareness Week in June. Take advantage of this by getting your surgery and target population involved in the conversation – you might host a themed information stand, display posters online and offline, or even take the opportunity to visit local community groups.
Try to identify:
Once you know this, consider whether you can put together bespoke resources, communication or events that might speak to this population. For example, we have had surgeries who have secured funding to translate videos for a large Somali population.
Remember to consider the digital divide – not everyone will have access to, or want to access, information and support online. Physical copies or in-person interventions can be more costly, in both time and finance, but may have a bigger benefit for your target population.
Once you understand why your target population is not able to easily access cervical screening, think about how you can remedy that.
You may find it useful to read or refer to the following resources: