Barriers to cervical screening in female prisoners
PHE ePoster Library. Tunnah C. Sep 10, 2018; 221239; 236
Ms. Ceriann Tunnah
Ms. Ceriann Tunnah
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Abstract
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Abstract IntroductionThe incidence of abnormal cervical smears is significantly higher in the female prison population compared to the general population. Although incidence rates are high, female prisoners are less likely to receive cervical screening. In the only female prison in the North West, the rates of cervical screening were identified as particularly poor. As part of a review of the cervical screening service work was undertaken with female prisoners to identify causes of the poor uptake rates. MethodThree focus groups were conducted with 17 female prisoners in HMP Styal, a female prison in the North West of England. The data was analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Results Although female prisoners experience many of the same barriers to screening as women within the community, there were a number of barriers that are unique to prisons and HMP Styal. The invitation process often led to confusion among the women about what they were being invited for. Women who did want to attend often struggled to get released from their cells. The lack of choice and control offered in the prison regime often resulted in resentment and disengagement. A culture of scaremongering about cervical screening was common among the prisoners. This was further exaggerbated by poor levels of knowledge and awareness about cervical screening. ConclusionThe reasons that women do not engage in cervical screening in HMP Styal are complex and varied. One approach to reducing these barriers could be to engage female prisoners as cervical screening champions to improve awareness.
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