Call for Evidence: Barriers for marginalised groups to accessing breast screening

Background

In England, breast screening is currently offered at 3-yearly intervals to women aged from 50 up to their 71st birthday. In 2017/18, 2.54 million women aged 50-70 were invited for breast screening of which 70.5% attended. Early diagnosis is key to improving the likelihood of successful treatment of an ageing population. The NHS breast screening programme has been experiencing decreasing uptake over a number of years. Whilst attendance for breast screening is a personal choice, and this must be respected, it should be an informed choice, and the screening service should be aware of, and able to respond to, the barriers that some population groups face in accessing the service.

The Project

In order to effectively reduce the impact of inequalities, The National LGB&T Partnership, in collaboration with Health and Wellbeing Alliance Members Friends, Families and Travellers, Faith Action, Race Equality Foundation, Mental Health Consortia and Win Win Alliance, and supported by Public Health England, are working on a project which will identify reasons why some people are not attending for breast screening. Barriers to screening can include physical and communication barriers as well as cultural and social barriers, and there is a current lack of evidence of the barriers to attendance experienced by groups who experience marginalisation and inequalities.

The project will undertake significant consultation through focus groups with various seldom heard groups to identify whether there are issues affecting the different community groups in relation to breast screening. Practical measures to reduce these barriers and reduce variation in participation will be identified, including through consultation with staff working within breast screening services, and outlined in a national toolkit, for use by these staff to better engage and communicate with the various population groups.

Call for Evidence

To support the development of the project, particularly the questions that will be asked of participants in focus groups, we are asking you to share any research, investigations, projects or information you have conducted or are aware of which relates to barriers to accessing screening and preventative care for marginalised groups. Our priority is to consider access to the breast screening programme, but as we know there is limited evidence in this area, we are extending this call to capture all evidence which may shine a light on the issue. We are interested in the experiences of people covered by all 7 main protected characteristics* (age, disability, gender reassignment/trans status, race/ethnicity, religion or belief, sex/gender, sexual orientation), 5 health inequality areas (Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller communities, vulnerable migrants, homeless people, people in contact with the criminal justice system, sex workers), and mental illness, people without English as a first language, people with caring responsibilities and people with experience of sexual violence and/or trauma.

*at this time, the remaining two protected characteristics: marriage/civil partnership and pregnancy/maternity are not key areas for investigation.

How to contribute

Please send any documents and/or links to: harri.weeks@lgbtconsortium.org.uk by October 25th.

Author: National LGB&T Partnership

The National LGB&T Partnership is an England-wide group of 10 LGB&T voluntary and community organisations who are committed to reducing the health inequalities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities and to challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within public services. The Partnership aim: o To ensure that tackling the health inequalities experienced by LGB&T people is kept high on the government’s agenda o That best use is made of the experience and expertise found within the LGB&T voluntary and community sector o To support the sustainability of the LGB&T sector so it can engage with government and statutory bodies, such as the Department of Health, at a strategic level to improve service delivery The Partnership complements the work of The Consortium of LGB&T VCOs by having The Consortium is an executive member of The Partnership and responding to key areas of policy development that affect LGB&T individuals as well as policy that impacts on our sector. Since inception, The Partnership has responded to a vast number of government and Department of Health white papers and consultations of relevance to the LGB&T sector and its communities as a Strategic Partner to the Department of Health, which gives us a platform and opportunity to influence positive changes for LGB&T people and reduce health inequalities in public services.

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