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.
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.
PHE Screening blogs
PHE Screening BLOGs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes – replacing our previously published newsletters.
You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.