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Region unique for self sampling pilot

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By Fiona Reid
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Region unique for self sampling pilot

DUMFRIES and Galloway was the only region in Scotland to run a pilot self-sampling programme for cervical cancer.

Back in 2020 home kits were sent out to hundreds of women locally to administer a smear test in the comfort of their own homes.

It was deemed a success and in 2021 the SNP Government’s Women’s Health Plan reported that “self-sampling has the potential to overcome many … barriers by allowing women to take a test in their own homes and at a time that is convenient for them”.

It pledged to roll it out nationally.

However, following a freedom of information request, Scottish Labour, has discovered that this region remains the only pilot to have taken place.

Now, the party is demanding the SNP act to speed up the roll-out of self-sampling to ensure women get the support they need and no one is left behind.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Women’s Health spokesperson and South Scotland MSP Carol Mochan MSP said: “It remains the case that inequalities exist in relation to screening between those living in the most and least deprived areas and that is why it remains of critical importance for screening programmes to continue to develop and advance.

“That only one health board in Scotland has piloted self-sampling is simply unacceptable.

“From missed targets to no meetings with the Women’s Health Champion, it is clear that for this SNP government women’s health is an afterthought.

“The SNP government must wake up to the ticking timebomb of cervical cancer and act to ensure the piloting of self-sampling is rolled out nationwide.”

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