Care for Mental Health Awards Winners
Our Trauma Informed Cervical Screening Project Team, which includes staff from The Meadows and Psychological Therapies, won the Care for Mental Health Award at the 2022 Scottish Health Awards for their work to support women who have experienced rape or sexual assault to undergo cervical screening and receive any follow up treatment they require.
Clinicians in the Trauma Clinic were aware that many of the women they work with, have either never attended or missed follow-up cervical screening appointments due to the potentially traumatic nature of the procedure.
The Trauma Informed Cervical Screening Project was developed to meet the needs of women who require more support to ensure they can access this service in as sensitive and responsive way as possible. It aims to identify those who may need additional support to help increase the uptake of cervical screening, improve women’s experiences and identify any early health changes which may require treatment to help improve health outcomes for women.
Staff working in our local trauma clinic check the cervical smear status for all women involved with the service to identify any women who have either never attended for cervical screening or missed repeat screening or follow up appointments. They then work with women to discuss their individual needs and the support they may require to attend cervical screening. This could include developing grounding and containment skills and coping strategies for intimate examination and when ready, visiting The Meadows, to see the facilities and meet staff members before developing and agreeing a plan of care based on core principles of safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment.
Women are actively supported by a trauma therapist throughout the process to ensure they have opportunities to ask questions and address any concerns they may have. Staff working in the trauma clinic supports the woman to attend The Meadows by scheduling appointments, accompanying the woman to their cervical screening appointment if this is something they would find helpful.
After cervical screening has taken place, staff from the Meadows explain the results and discuss any future investigations or procedures that may be required. They can also undertake a comprehensive health and wellbeing assessment for those who require additional follow up services and support.
There are plans to support primary care services to develop similar trauma informed plans and to develop information sharing agreements to allow closer working between the trauma clinic, The Meadows, Primary Care and service users.