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Third of eligible under-50s fail to take up cervical screening

Third of eligible under-50s fail to take up cervical screening

Millions of people are being urged to come forward for cervical screening as latest figures show a third of eligible under-50s did not take up the offer.

Latest figures show that as of December last year, 65.8% of the 11 million eligible 25-49-year-olds took up their cervical screening invitation and were screened within the recommended time.

Of those aged between 50 and 64, 74.1% took up the screening offer.

Last week was Cervical Screening Awareness Week, and NHS England reminded those eligible to come forward.

Steve Russell, chief delivery officer and national director for vaccinations and screening for NHS England, said: ‘We have set an ambitious target of eliminating cervical cancer within the next two decades – one of the few countries in the world who have committed to this – and we are doing everything we can to achieve our ambition by making it as easy as possible to make appointments, and continuing to send invites and reminders to all eligible women.

‘But in order to make this a reality we need to see more women coming forward for their cervical screening appointments when invited – even if you previously missed your appointment, don’t wait around for another invitation before contacting your GP practice – you can still book in now and this could save your life.’

Last year, the NHS pledged to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040 by making it ‘as easy as possible’ for people to receive a HPV vaccination and increasing cervical screening uptake.

NHS cervical screening helps to prevent cervical cancer by checking for high-risk HPV which causes 99% of cervical cancers.

HPV can cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix and, if left untreated, these cells can turn into cervical cancer over time.

Also this week, a new cervical screening management system (CSMS) has gone live, NHS England has confirmed.

As reported by our sister title Management in Practice, it replaces the previous 35-year-old call/recall IT system, Open Exeter, which can now no longer be used to deliver NHS cervical screening programme services. The CSMS will be accessed via an NHS Smartcard.

NHS England guidance has explained that the new system changes the way surgeries receive the list of participants due to be invited for cervical screening (formally known as the Prior Notification list). It also changes how practices can ‘action it to ensure participants are called efficiently and safely’.

A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title Nursing in Practice


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