Call for more eligble Nottinghamshire people to get cervical screenings as numbers drop

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Fewer people in Nottinghamshire completed cervical screenings last year, new figures show, as charities urge all those eligible to get tested.

The charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said it will be challenging for the health service to achieve its goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2040 as cervical screening coverage continues to fall across England.

NHS England figures show 75.9 per cent of 221,636 eligible 25 to 64-year-olds in Nottinghamshire were adequately screened as of March 31 – down from 77.4 per cent the year before and below the target of 80 per cent.

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Nationally, 68.7 per cent of eligible individuals aged 25 to 64 were adequately screened this year – a fall from 69.9 per cent in 2022.

Cervical screeing test rates have dropped in Nottinghamshire. Photo: OtherCervical screeing test rates have dropped in Nottinghamshire. Photo: Other
Cervical screeing test rates have dropped in Nottinghamshire. Photo: Other

Martin Hunt, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: "We understand that it’s not an easy appointment for everyone.

"But these tests are vital – they can prevent cancer."

The national decline in coverage was primarily driven by a fall in 24 to 49-year-olds being screened.

This age group is invited for tests every three years.

In Nottinghamshire, 74.1 per cent were screened as of March this year – a fall from 76.3 per cent in 2022.

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Of the eligible 50 to 64-year-olds in the area – who are invited every five years – 79 per cent were tested as of this year, down from 79.2 per cent the year before.

Nicola Smith, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "The cervical screening programme saves thousands of lives every year in the UK by preventing cancer and helping to stop the disease in its tracks.

"We encourage women and people with a cervix, such as trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth, to take part."

She suggested people who find cervical screening uncomfortable ask for a longer time slot to speak about any concerns.

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Steve Russell, NHS England chief delivery officer and national director for vaccinations and screening, said eliminating cervical cancer in the next two decades is possible, but relies on millions of people coming forward for tests and vaccinations.

He added: "The NHS is doing everything we can to achieve our ambition by making it as easy as possible to make appointments, with the latest figures showing the NHS arranged cervical screening for over 3.4 million women last year."