Date lodged: 26 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to address the reported continued decline in cervical screening coverage.
Answered by: Shona Robison 12 February 2018
Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives a year and prevents up to 8 out of 10 cervical cancers.
Increasing coverage in the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme is a key objective for the Scottish Government and that is why up to £5m of funding from the Cancer Strategy 'Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action' 2016 is being invested in our screening programmes, including cervical screening, to reduce inequalities and improve uptake, particularly amongst those less likely to participate in screening.
We are also supporting the work of charities like Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to increase awareness of screening and address some of the barriers. To enable the charity to expand their reach we are funding their innovative new outreach service targeting women less likely to attend.
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.
Thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme, cervical cancer is now preventable.