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Questions asked on self test smears

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By Fiona Reid
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Questions asked on self test smears

PRIORITISATION of cancer and diagnostic services in Dumfries and Galloway has been discussed at Holyrood.

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper raised the issue last week and, in particular, flagged up non attendance at smear test appointments.

She said many women do not attend for reasons including discomfort and embarrassment.

And Ms Harper asked the First Minister: “Cervical cancer self-tests, which are being trialled in some health boards, including NHS Dumfries and Galloway, have the potential to be an effective way for women to screen themselves for human papilloma virus (HPV).

“With over 6000 women in NHS D&G missing appointments, self-tests also have been proven to reduce the number of women who default on their appointment.

“Can the First Minister therefore outline how cancer diagnostic services will be prioritised and, in particular, can she provide an update on the cervical cancer self-test rollout?”

In reply, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Self-sampling does have the potential to increase the uptake of self-screening and also to make it easier for those and that’s many who find it difficult. That said, the UK National Screening Committee is gathering evidence on the matter and hasn’t yet recommended that self-sampling should be incorporated into the National Screening Programme.

“We’ve convened a working group to explore the feasibility and requirements of different self-sampling models which will contribute to the evidence base and that group brings together clinical and public health expertise, including representatives from the Dumfries and Galloway study.”

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