Matt Hancock accused of dangerous misinformation after claiming women will do smear tests at home

As many women pointed out, reaching your own cervix is...difficult.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of endangering lives through ignorance after he falsely claimed women were being sent smear tests to carry out themselves at home.

Smear tests are usually carried out by a nurse in a GP’s office to test for something called HPV which can become cancer. The nurses uses a speculum in order to reach the cervix.

As many women pointed out, reaching your own cervix is impossible without a speculum and very, very long arms.

As explained by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the NHS are actually sending out vaginal swabs, which are similar to many sexually transmitted infection tests. These can easily be carried out at home.

This is part of a trial across North and East London. If succesful, it may be rolled out to the rest of the country.

Many women suggested Matt Hancock’s ignorance was because he and his team were men. Of his five advisers listed in the most recent government data, only one is a woman.

Of the 31 post-war Health Secretaries, only three have been women. The last was Labour’s Patricia Hewitt in 2007.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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