AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Taking a mobile cervical screening unit to patients is improving access for marginalised women, writes Louise Logan.
I took up post as the mobile cervical screening co-ordinator for Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in March 2007. The role was created in direct response to a business plan I submitted to the Eastern Health & Social Services Board (EH&SSB) for a Mobile Cervical Screening Unit.
Part of my remit is to increase the rates of cervical screening within the EH&SSB, which is the largest of the four health boards in Northern Ireland. Rates in some parts of Belfast are as low as 45 per cent and coverage is lowest in the region in which I work.1
A lot of research has been done looking at the reasons why many women in the UK do not attend cervical smear tests and there are various suggested strategies to combat non-attendance.
Reasons are many and varied but may hinge on fear and dislike of the test itself, according to some researchers,2 who found that the presence of a female smear taker helped with attendance. They also concluded that problems with time and venue were not insurmountable.
In both my current role and my previous work in sexual health promotion, I have worked with a community group called the Women's Resource and Development Agency (WRDA). The agency believes that active involvement of community groups is key to improving uptake: not only will this achieve higher attendance rates at smear clinics, it will also help 'win women over' to ensure that they return for subsequent smear tests.
Before the establishment of the Mobile Screening Unit Project, women who needed a smear test within the EH&SSB area could go to their GP surgery or family planning clinic.
However, for manifold reasons a large proportion of women simply did not attend. This was particularly true of women …