column in the BMJ – free link
AND now Jo’s Trust and Jo Salter from Demos (I think that was the name of the group) have suggested women be offered “on the spot” smear tests whenever they visit a doctor…to increase coverage.
Too many women now avoid doctors due to the insane focus on screening for one always rare cancer. Some “self manage” things like asthma and diabetes and get their meds and the Pill online.
Many women would not appreciate being pressured on the spot, some women need to prepare emotionally and physically for this sort of test. Others may feel unable to refuse to the consult room setting and be left with psych and other issues. (false positives) Many women would be happy to see anyone for an earache, but may want to see a particular doctor or nurse for pap testing. It makes women even more vulnerable in the consult room.
It’s yet another disrespectful tactic that treats women like second class citizens, no respect at all for informed consent or even consent itself. It’s practice would further damage the doctor-patient relationship, the trust and mutual respect that should exist.
I was relieved to see the RCGPs come out quickly with a firm and respectful statement, in sharp contrast our medical association has said some shocking things. The AMA still makes public statements linking pap testing with the Pill and one male doctor speaking for the AMA said he doubted many doctors would prescribe the Pill without a pap test on file, surely this is assuming doctors practice medical coercion or deny women the Pill simply because women decline elective screening. A very serious matter.
Yet no one challenged or corrected these senior male doctors from the AMA, it explains a lot, why some women believe they have no choice in the matter and why we have an outdated pap testing program that harms huge numbers with zero informed consent. (and often no consent at all)
The amazing thing is many of these “great” ideas (have a pap test with your mother, offer one on-the-spot etc.) come from women, yet they don’t see a problem telling women what to do and thinking of ways to capture women for the program. (putting them through a penetrative exam/test they may not want)
Some of these women call themselves feminists, but if these attitudes and practices were demonstrated elsewhere they’d be the first to cry, “foul”.
This should not be about targets and find it offensive they view women in this way.
“GPs will check that patients are up to date with health checks such as smear tests as part of their routine appointment if appropriate. But the choice should always be left to the woman – the average GP consultation is currently only 10 minutes long and it is imperative that this time is dedicated to addressing the particular problem or condition that the patient presents with. No-one should ever leave their GP surgery feeling that they have been pressurised into having a test that they did not want.”
(Part of their response)