Date lodged: 25 January 2017
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what steps it is taking to address the reported decline in cervical screening coverage.
Answered by: Shona Robison 6 February 2017
Increasing coverage in the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme is a key objective for the Scottish Government and work continues on helping address the fall in cervical screening uptake rates.
It is disappointing that uptake is dropping however on the 8th of February 2017 we will launch a new hard-hitting campaign on cervical screening to raise awareness of the benefits of having a smear test and to encourage women to attend when invited.
We are also responding with £5m of funding from the Cancer Strategy being invested in our screening programmes including cervical screening to reduce inequalities and improve uptake, particularly amongst those less likely to participate in screening.
Officials are currently working to establish a network, involving clinical and academic experts from across Scotland as well as organisations such as Cancer Research UK and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to identify new activities, learning from local practice and innovation, to help improve screening coverage.
Furthermore, Scottish Government officials meet cervical screening coordinators from all NHS Boards on a quarterly basis to discuss a range of issues relating to the national screening programme, including promoting screening services and initiatives to improve uptake. NHS Boards have responsibility for publicising screening within their local area and for working closely with their communities to increase screening uptake.