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Making data available to help improve cervical screening attendance

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Cervical Screening Programme

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme aims to detect abnormalities of the cervix early and refer women for effective treatment. It is estimated to save around 5,000 lives a year.

The programme aims to make sure screening is free and accessible to all women who want to be screened. All screening is a choice and some women may choose not to be screened.

An individual’s choice should always be made clear and be respected by healthcare staff. National statistics have shown that attendance for regular cervical screening is falling. There are a variety of reasons for this including getting a convenient appointment and the experience of the actual screening test.

Most cervical screening is done in GP surgeries. GPs and their staff want to provide the best service for their patients including providing screening tests where women choose. To help GPs assess how they are delivering their part of the programme we set up a project to look at what data is available.

The aim is to help GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities and Public Health England screening and immunisation teams to make sure  women who want the test are able to access it.

For the first time ever we’re publishing detailed cervical screening coverage data by GP practice.

It has been great working with colleagues from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, NHS Digital, the screening and immunisation teams, NHS England and Macmillan to develop a set of linked resources. We want these resources to be the ‘go-to’ place for cervical screening attendance data and information.

For the first time ever, we’re publishing detailed cervical screening coverage data by GP practice.  Coverage is the proportion of women eligible for screening who have a test result recorded in the last 3 or 5 years, depending on their age.  This will include separate coverage rates for:

  • women aged 25 to 49 who are routinely invited every 3 years
  • women aged 50 to 64 who are invited every 5 years

The same data will be available at CCG and local authority level.  GP practices, CCGs and local authorities are ranked so they can compare themselves against each other.  This will help them evaluate actions they take and share good practice.

The data will also be on a new interactive dashboard developed with our colleagues at NHS Digital.  The data will be updated every 3 months and will therefore provide more up to date information than the current annual statistical report.

Background data on factors that might affect women attending for screening is also being made available from PHE Screening.

Jo’s Trust has been supporting local initiatives around attendance for a long time. We’re delighted to link with their resources to give ideas on projects that make a difference.

This is just the start and we’ll be adding to the resource in the future, so look out for new data coming soon.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by katrehman posted on

    It's really good that finally women are told that cervical screening is their choice..BUT...I know you're hard pressed as you want as many women as possible to screen. I still think the message isn't reaching all the women. Over on another blog about smears one woman admits only going to stop the NHS pestering her and another goes because it's what you do! This doesn't seem like informed consent to me! But it's great that the message is going out.