Improving equality of access to cervical screening
Michelle Bell Sexual health nurse, Ayrshire
Karen Gribben Community learning disability charge nurse, East Ayrshire
Karen Gribben and Michelle Bell examine the literature on why women with a learning disability are not attending for smear tests and missing out on this potentially life-saving service
People with learning disabilities have unmet health needs and lower uptake of services and screening. There is evidence that women with learning disabilities do not get the same opportunity as other women to access cervical screening. The main issues identified in this literature review were barriers to accessing services, which include attitudes and training of professionals, carers and service users, inadequate resources and invitation letters, and consent.
Recommendations for future practice include partnership working to raise awareness of professionals, service users, parents and carers; identifying relevant resources for service users and professionals; and the need for guidance to be developed for those who are working with people with learning disabilities.
Learning Disability Practice. 13, 7, 14-20. doi: 10.7748/ldp2010.09.13.7.14.c7975