Cervical smear campaign targets young women

Young women in Essex are putting themselves at risk with their lack of knowledge about cervical screening (smear tests), research has revealed.

That's why Basildon and Brentwood CCG is backing an innovative campaign to raise awareness among 25-29 year-old women about the necessity of having their smear test when they are invited by the NHS.

Females of the Future is a new campaign by NHS England, which aims to fill women with hope, not guilt, as they are encouraged to attend their smear test.

Dr Pam Hall, NHS England, Midlands and East (East), Consultant in Public Health, said: “We are proactively reaching out to young women in Essex to help increase the awareness of the need for regular cervical screening (smear tests) and to motivate them to go for screening when invited. It could save their life.”

Hayley McCarthy, NHS England, Midlands and East (East), Screening and Immunisation Coordinator is leading this work. She said: “The young women of Essex are the females of the future. We want to empower and motivate them to access cervical screening.”

The Females of the Future campaign  will run for six months in Essex. It aims to fill women with hope, not guilt, as they are encouraged to attend their smear test.

Women aged 25-29 years of age in Essex will get reminders on Facebook over the next six months via the campaign. Local GP practices and other targeted locations across Essex will also display the campaign and encourage patients to book a smear test appointment.

Research commissioned by NHS England has revealed that there is a significant knowledge gap for women aged 25-29 years of age in relation to cervical screening (smear tests). Young women did not know how often a smear test was needed, where to get one or how long it would take. It is estimated that one third of women aged between 25 – 29 years of age do not attend their screening, putting themselves at risk. Cervical screening saves around 4,500 lives in the UK each year.

The NHS cervical screening programme invites all women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening:

  • aged 25 to 49 – every three years
  • aged 50 to 64 – every five years
  • over 65 – only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests

The campaign also wants to show women that it is easy to book an appointment for a cervical smear as all they need to do is call their GP practice. The test itself takes only about three minutes, when a sample of cells is taken from the cervix and sent for testing to check for anything out of the ordinary. Results are then sent to the patient.

For more information contact Hayley McCarthy, Screening and Immunisation Coordinator on 01138 249101.

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