This is a subject we need to talk more openly about, and that does mean ALL genders. it’s not a subject we should or can shy away from – yes it’s one of those taboo subjects that people in all walks of life struggle to talk about.
The lack of access to smear tests when you have a physical disabilities/impairments – I have been extremely honest and open about my own struggles as a disabled woman when gaining access to a cervical smear test. After having an abnormal result it took the next 10 years to finally have my next smear test but it did come at a cost that never should have happened just because of the lack of access.
When I say at a cost I mean money wise I like to call it ‘my fanny mot’ – not only did I have to go under I also had to spend 24hrs in a high dependency ward, I do have feelings of guilt because if I had the access I needed in the first place I probably would not of needed four procedures all at once which I know was to make sure I was okay after 10 years and wasn’t put under any extra distress, I just can’t shake that feeling Of what a waste of NHS funds just because of the lack of access.
Why? There is a huge stigma and misconceptions when it comes to disabled people- so let’s clear a few things up first. Yes we are and can be sexually active, yes we can have children if we choose and yes we have PERIODS.
Disabled people are being told they can’t have a test and worryingly – no it shouldn’t be down to any of the above as to why some disabled people can’t gain access but it isn’t just down to that, the lack of equipment and facilities within local GP surgery is a huge problem.
Two thirds of people that need cervical screening that have a physical disability/impairment are unable to attend one because of their disability/Impairment.
There is a massive disparity in the availability of the equipment and provisions across the country, while some disabled people are offered options like home testing and provided fantastic care, there is still so much more work that can/needs be done to ensure equal access for ALL.
We should all be able to access the healthcare we need when we need it, it’s important that GP practices and other providers are able to make the right adjustments where possible for those of us who have any sort of disability/impairments or limitation.
However, the problem does also lie with some GP practices having the lack of funds or being housed in unaccessible buildings. Changing attitudes is also just as vital to screening, as one in five people have been assumed not to be sexually active, therefore being presumptuous that cervical screening or being less at risk than non-disabled people that is not just dangerous but harmful.
In light of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week on 18 – 24th January please take a moment to sign this petition; link help make the vital changes needed for the future.
What are your experiences good or bad – do you worry about access or had no issues with access? Leave me a comment.
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