NHS Tayside’s Colposcopy Service based at Ninewells Hospital has won a national award for their work to increase the number of women attending cervical screening.
The team has been awarded the top prize in Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s Cervical Screening Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation across the UK.
As part of Jo’s Trust Cervical Screening Awareness Week in 2017, NHS Tayside held a series of drop-in smear sessions and information stalls in hospitals, as well as further information stands in local shopping centres. The team also created a range of posters and graphics which were shared on social media to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening.
The campaign led to the service securing Scottish Government funding to run further drop-in smear clinics at hospitals in areas with higher incidence of cervical cancer, seeing more than 150 women who were overdue or who had never had a smear. The clinics also allowed the team to engage with more hard-to-reach groups of women and encourage them to attend their GP for regular screening.
Gynae cancer lead Dr Wendy McMullen said, “We used Jo’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week to launch our social marketing campaign to increase uptake of cervical screening, particularly in younger women.
“We took over 50 smears from women who were overdue a smear test and collected formal feedback from over 250 women who felt that lack of time, embarrassment and difficulty or discomfort with examinations were the main barriers to having smear tests. More importantly many women have been able to discuss issues about cervical screening on a one-to-one basis.”
Lead colposcopist Dr Kalpana Ragupathy said, “NHS Tayside has the highest incidence of cervical cancer within Scotland and screening attendance is around 75% meaning one in four women are not taking up the invite for a smear.
“We realise that some women have particular difficulties with examination but it is so important that these women come for their smear tests and follow up. It is so sad to see women having life changing treatment for a cancer that could have been prevented by a five minute smear test and a half hour visit to the clinic.”
Senior charge nurse/colposcopist Elaine Coupar added, “This recognition by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is a tremendous honour. Looking at the list of Jo’s Cervical Screening Award past recipients and their inspirational projects brings home the significance of this accolade. We are more committed than ever to promoting cervical screening awareness and providing this valuable service for the people of Tayside.”
Want to know more about your smears?
- Talk to your nurse or GP
- Like our cervical screening page at facebook.com/beclearhaveyoursmear
- Visit nhsinform.scot or call 0800 224488 (textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88). The helpline is open every day 8am-10pm and also provides an interpreting service.
- Visit Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust at jostrust.org.uk or call 0808 802800