David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how it promotes cervical screening awareness. (S5O-01147)
The Minister for Public Health and Sport (Aileen Campbell): The Scottish cervical programme is supported by a range of national and local resources, including a suite of public communication materials that are also available in a number of languages; a new advertising campaign, which was launched in February this year and was developed in partnership with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to raise awareness of cervical screening among women aged 25 to 35; various local initiatives, including cervical screening awareness workshops; drop-in clinics for women from disadvantaged backgrounds; dedicated staff working with women with learning difficulties; and workshops run for staff by national health service boards to promote cervical screening.
The Scottish Government is also working closely with Cancer Research UK and colleagues in NHS boards to develop a facilitators programme to support and promote cervical screening in general practices and pilot projects to target uptake among those who are less likely to participate in screening. We are also investing up to £5 million of funding from the cancer strategy in screening programmes to reduce inequalities in access to screening in Scotland.
David Torrance: The majority of cervical cancers are caused by a persistent human papillomavirus infection, which causes changes to the cervical cells. Will the minister provide an update on progress on HPV primary screening in Scotland?
Aileen Campbell: The United Kingdom national screening committee recommended the introduction of HPV primary screening in January last year. Following that recommendation, a full and detailed business case has been developed for implementation of the recommendation in Scotland and was considered by the Scottish screening committee at the start of this year.
The SSC recommended to ministers that HPV primary testing should be introduced in the Scottish cervical screening programme over the course of the next two years. We are now working with NHS National Services Scotland and NHS boards across Scotland to implement that change.
Link to the Scottish Parliament Official Report