Breast Screening
Cervical Screening
Bowel Screening
Diabetic Retina Screening Eliminate Cervical Cancer

New project seeks to understand and improve access to population screening for people with disabilities


The National Screening Service (NSS), in collaboration with a group of researchers from Dublin City University’s School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, is working on a project to better understand how people with disabilities experience Ireland’s population health screening services, BreastCheck, CervicalCheck, BowelScreen and Diabetic Retina Screen. This is important work because international data suggests people with disabilities may under-utilise health screening services, and so may miss out on the opportunity for the prevention of, or early detection of the diseases being screened for.

Currently, in Ireland, it is unclear what barriers people with disabilities may face in accessing population health screening. This recently-launched project will investigate barriers at all levels of access, including:

  • How people are made aware of screening services 
  • How the screening process is communicated 
  • Physical access to spaces.

It will look at how screening services can adapt to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

The project will primarily consist of focus groups representing people with disabilities from across Ireland. People with visual impairments, physical impairments, intellectual disabilities, people who are deaf, and individuals with autism, for example, will be represented on the focus groups. The voices of the focus group participants will provide an important first-hand account of health screening access among this population. The research team will also speak to NSS staff members and key stakeholders involved in the provision of screening services such as GPs and practice nurses, and conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. The entire research process will be guided by an advisory panel of people with disabilities.

The project will culminate with a final report to be submitted to the NSS from the research team detailing the perspective of health screening in Ireland among people with disabilities, including a synthesis of the barriers they face, and provide recommendations for improvements to advance more equitable screening for all. For more information about the project please contact Kumar at

Read more about how the NSS is working to reduce inequity in screening.


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