Worrying reduction in number of women undergoing cervical cancer screening

There has been a drop in the number of eligible women being screened for cervical cancer in Barnet and Camden according to the latest NHS data. Local London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore AM has described this as “a concerning move in the wrong direction.” He also said it was “further evidence that the NHS needs to be allocated more resources to engage effectively with women across our community.”

Cervical screening looks for abnormal cells in the cervix that can develop into cancer.

The most recent statistics, which cover the period of March 2016-March 2017, show that there was a 1.4% decrease in the number of eligible women aged 25-64 years who were adequately screened in Barnet, compared to the previous year, and 2.3% decrease in Camden

This reflects the national trend where there has been a 0.7% reduction in screening coverage, down to 72%. The fall in coverage comes in spite of there being an increase in the number of women, totalling 4.45 million, invited to undertake a screening.

London has the lowest average rate of coverage in the country with only two thirds of eligible women having gone through the screening programme between 2016 and 2017. Mr Dismore said He was backing calls for the Mayor of London to consider how to promote further awareness of cervical screening in the capital.

Barnet and Camden London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore AM said:

“Cervical screenings save lives, and it is clear more must be done to encourage all eligible women to undertake them.

“It might be that the downward trend we are seeing in our local community, and across the capital, is due to our increasingly transient population, with less Londoners registering with a GP.

“With the level of take up in London lagging behind the national average, it’s vital the Mayor takes action to address this serious health inequality. That’s why I’m backing calls for Sadiq Khan to look into how we can promote awareness of cervical screening in the capital.

“The Government must also do their part by looking at how screenings can be made more accessible and ensuring that adequate resources are in place to enable the NHS to reach more women.”