This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week (19th-24th June) so we wanted to showcase the work that has, and will be done, across Newham to help more people to access cervical cancer screenings or ‘smear’ tests.
Why are Cervical Screenings important?
Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women under 35 with two women in the UK per day dying from the disease. Regular cervical screening appointments can prevent up to 75% of instances of cervical cancer, saving 5000 lives per year.
What has been done locally to increase screenings?
Our primary care networks (PCNs), groups of GP practices that work together to serve patients, have, and continue to be committed to increasing uptake of cervical screening appointments, particularly amongst residents that traditionally find it difficult to access services. This is part of the Borough Wide Health Inequality (HI) Plan which aims to reduce health inequalities through primary care interventions. Alongside the PCNs, our enhanced access service team have been proactively calling eligible patients to book in their screenings at additional clinics hosted by NHC. These efforts are already starting to have a positive effect with:
- The percentage of 25-49 year olds screened for cervical cancer in the past 3.5 years rising from 60.3% to 77.1%.
- The percentage of 50-64 screened for cervical cancer in the past 5.5 years increased from 73.5% to 81.4% reaching a Primary Care national target.
- 588 screenings attended through our Enhanced Access service since 1st October 2022
How can we further increase cervical screenings in Newham?
There are further plans to ensure as many residents as possible attend cervical screenings. We will do this by…
- Using nurses who have been specially trained to provide screenings and work with communities that may feel anxious in attending.
- Supporting practices, over the next 3-6 months, to contact and encourage their registered Learning Disability (LD) patients that have not yet had their cervical screenings to attend clinics
- Providing Easy Read materials to GP practices for them to use when engaging with learning disability patients
- Providing Easy read posters and leaflets for patients explaining what to expect at a cervical screening and encouraging attendance
After this we will look to move on to contact women/ patients with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and those that have had an ‘abnormal smear’ to encourage to book an appointment.
Are you a practice trying to help more patients to access cervical screenings? Did you know you can access the following resources?
Animated cervical screening videos in a variety of different languages: See the YouTube Playlist below
All about Cervical Screen Website – produced by Muslim Sisterhood (includes videos in English, Bengali, Somali and Urdu.
To find out more about Health Inequalities projects in Newham visit: https://www.newhamhealthcollaborative.co.uk/primary-care-networks/health-inequalities/