HSE Screening Services update their inclusive language use in CervicalCheck materials 

The service has published an interim update to their communications in light of recent debate. 

Two women talking over a sheaf of papers on a table

Today the HSE’s National Screening service has released interim updated language on their CervicalCheck materials and communications after much debate and feedback on their first amendments, that were intended to “make sure the cervical screening service is accessible and inclusive of everyone in the population. ”

In September, the HSE released a new update to their literature regarding Cervical Cancer screenings stating “Anyone with a cervix between the age of 25 and 65 should go for regular cervical screening when it’s due.” This inclusive language started a firestorm of debate that questioned the use of certain language and the rights of the people involved. 

In September of this year, in the aftermath of the release of the inclusive wording, TENI CEO Éirénne Carroll shared the organisation’s position on the HSE’s use of inclusive wording.

Today, the National Women’s Council of Ireland have welcomed the updates and shared on Twitter that they “met with the NSS to raise our concerns about the inclusivity of the language and recommended ‘women, transgender men, intersex and non-binary people with a cervix’ and we will continue to advocate for our shared language.”

The NSS, referring to the stakeholder process in regard to CervicalCheck materials, explained they “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.”

TENI added on Twitter this evening, they hope the “HSE will consider the fullest inclusion of language as we were told they were unable to make any updates before year-end. We will continue to work together for healthcare that is knowledgeable and affirming for all.”

The HSE have more information on their process of introducing gender-neutral language to the CervicalCheck public information and education resources online, which can be read here.

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