'Cervical Screening Saves Lives'

7th March 2019 Clinical Negligence

This week marks the launch of the first ever government campaign aimed at encouraging women to attend for their cervical smear tests.

“Cervical Screening Saves Lives„, run by Public Health England, will run for 8 weeks from 5 March to 28 April 2019 and will involve a number of adverts across television, radio and online platforms. It is hoped that this will increase the number of women attending screening tests, encouraging them to respond to their invitation letter and book an appointment at their GP practice if they missed their last screening.

Recent statistics revealed that the uptake of screening has hit a 20 year low with almost one in three women eligible for testing failing to do so. Approximately two women die every day from cervical cancer and around 2,600 women are diagnosed with the disease every year. It has been estimated that 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented if everyone attended screening regularly and it is hoped that this campaign will help with this.

As a medical negligence solicitor who has dealt with a number of cases involving cervical cancer, I have seen the huge impact this disease can have on women and their families. It amazes me how women can be prepared to take the risk of contracting this disease just to avoid a few minutes of embarrassment or because they ‘don’t have time.’ The screening is a short, simple and painless procedure that could potentially save lives and I am glad that more awareness is being raised through this campaign.

Whether an eight week campaign will be sufficient to increase the uptake of screening tests remains to be seen and if the government is pushing screening they need to ensure that alongside this there is a robust and reliable system of reporting. Unfortunately we are still seeing cases where there have been delays in diagnosis resulting from incorrect reporting and women need to feel assured that the screening programme is effective.

I do however think this campaign is a positive step towards educating women about the need for the test and allaying some of the fears that women may have about the screening process.

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Jodie Miller is a Associate Solicitorlocated in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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