NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned Healthwatch Blackpool as part of a consortium of local Healthwatch known as Healthwatch Together which includes neighbouring local Healthwatch in Blackburn with Darwen, Cumbria and Lancashire. Healthwatch Together undertook a joint project to support potential changes to service delivery in cancer screening programmes amongst women with learning disabilities. Healthwatch Together wanted to find out what local women with learning disabilities, their families, and carers think about breast and cervical screening and hear about their experiences.
People with learning disabilities have significantly higher rates of mortality and morbidity than the general population. There are significant differences between the uptakes of cancer screening programmes nationally and regionally between people with learning disabilities and the non-learning disability population.
The aim of the project was to gain valuable insight from women with a learning disability, and their carers, regarding access to cervical and breast cancer screening programmes whilst in the community. Healthwatch Together wanted to learn about the challenges people might face, understand the barriers to attending screening, and to hear their thoughts about improvements in the health and care system for the future.
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