Myth-busting and sharing experiences - encouraging cervical screening for people with learning disabilities

To encourage people with learning disabilities to come forward for cervical screening, two new videos are being promoted this week to dispel myths and provide reassurance as part of Learning Disability Week and Cervical Screening Week.

The videos feature people with learning disabilities and has been produced on behalf of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) Learning Disability and Autism (LDA) Collaborative.

The first is a myth-busting video which aims to separate facts and myths around cervical screening. It features people with learning disabilities in conversation with a local GP who answers many common questions people have, including whether a smear test is needed if the person has had an HPV vaccination and if a person needs to have a test if they have not had sexual intercourse:

The second video shares an experience of a cervical screening appointment, which illustrates what happens and aims to help with the anxiety that some people may have prior to booking or attending an appointment:

Further help and easy read materials can be found on the NHS Cervical Screening Website.

If you have been invited for cervical screening but missed or did not book an appointment, you can contact your GP surgery or local sexual health clinic to book now.

You can still book even if you were invited weeks or months ago.

Booking your cervical screening appointment

  1. You’ll be sent an invitation letter in the post when it’s time to book your cervical screening appointment.
  2. Your invitation letter will tell you where you can go for cervical screening and how to book.
  3. Most cervical screening is done in a GP surgery by a female nurse or doctor.
  4. Call your GP surgery to book an appointment with them. You might be able to book the appointment online.


Paula Watts, Primary Care Liaison Nurse at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, who was involved in the production of the films, said:

“It’s so important that we raise awareness of cervical screening especially for those with learning disabilities. We hope these videos can provide information to support people who are booking and attending their appointment.”

Mark Roberts, Associate Director at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and Lead for the LLR LDA Collaborative, said:

“We believe that all people with a learning disability have the fundamental right to live good, happy lives where they are seen and feel valued. 

“Improving the cervical screening uptake for people with learning disabilities and autistic people is a priority which we will continue to work on.”

The LDA Collaborative is led by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and works alongside the LLR Integrated Care Board, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Rutland County Council as well as the local voluntary sector and primary care services. Working together, the Collaborative’s aim is to transform services to improve outcomes for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in our community.

Help for people with learning disabilities, their parents and carers is available across the city and two counties. Please visit the Health and Wellbeing Partnership Learning Disability and Autism Collaborative homepage.