Submission to the National Screening Service
Removal of the word “Woman” from HPV Cervical Screening Literature
In November 2020, the National Screening Service asked for feedback on their new public information and educational resources materials in CervicalCheck, specifically around their new use of gender-neutral language, which included removal of the word “woman” from all literature and replacing it with “people with a cervix”.
You can find the Irish Council for Human Rights submission at this link.
On 21 December 2020, we received the following response from the National Screening Service:
“Thank you for your email.
In November of this year we asked for your feedback on our new public information and educational resources materials in CervicalCheck. We specifically asked for your thoughts on our new use of gender neutral language, and our efforts to make sure the cervical screening service is accessible and inclusive of everyone in the population. We wanted to evaluate how we can develop and improve it. You can read more about our literature revision process here.
A big thank you to everyone who responded. You shared your thoughts on the good work we are doing, and also indicated where you would like to see change.
You told us that you would like to see the use of the word “woman” included, where we have said “people with a cervix”. You said it was important for understanding and for inclusion.
You said that while you understood that we have a schedule in place to evaluate, develop and improve all our HPV literature, you would nevertheless like to see the word “woman” inserted on an interim basis, while we work through our longer-term revision process.
We have listened to extensive stakeholder feedback and have made this change to our website, leaflets and healthcare professional information. This means that the phrase “people with a cervix” has been changed to incorporate “women and people with a cervix” wherever it appears in our literature.
An NSS Communications Working Group, chaired by our Public Health division, is now arranging to meet with participants, healthcare professionals and advocacy groups to assess our new HPV cervical screening information, and consider this feedback further. This review process will form part of the work of our wider NSS Equity Strategy, which has begun in 2020.
The NSS knows that working in partnership with patients and the public delivers better health outcomes. In support of this ideal, we established the Patient and Public Partnership panel, comprising patient representatives and staff of the NSS who work together to shape policy and communications across our four screening programmes. If you would like to join our Patient and Public Partnership panel, please email [email protected]
CervicalCheck Information Service”