• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

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Cervical screening coverage increases

middlesbrough-moving-forwardA CAMPAIGN to get more women in Middlesbrough to attend regular cervical screening is heading in the right direction.

The town is bucking national trends by seeing an increase in attendances and further work is now planned to encourage more women to take up the potentially life-saving screenings.

In response to the low uptake of regular routine cervical screening amongst women in Middlesbrough, a local pilot campaign was developed by Middlesbrough Council’s public health team in partnership with NHS England.

Launched in June 2015, the campaign consisted of a range of activities including GP engagement and the development of ‘No Fear’ practices, a radio campaign, bus advertising, town centre adverts, posters, leaflets, social media targeting, professional information packs for frontline staff and a range of community development work and events.

A dedicated cervical screening clinic for staff was introduced at James Cook University Hospital to provide an alternative for many workers who identified struggling to fit in GP appointments around their shifts as a key barrier.

The campaign was designed using insight from local women. The materials and community activities delivered as part of the campaign were all intended to provide women with all the information they need, allay fears and possible barriers and dispel myths around cervical screening.

Before the campaign only two of 26 GP practices were achieving the national coverage target of 80% – with the lowest at 62%.  This presents a significant number of women in Middlesbrough who are putting themselves at risk.

But after a number of measures were introduced to encourage attendance, 17 of the 26 practices have reported an increase.

Cllr Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “The campaign has made good headway in getting the messages out and has seen an increase in the number of women screened. Still, there is more to be done and that is why we now want to keep it going. Put quite simply, screening saves lives.”

In order to continue the momentum of the campaign it has been agreed to keep its website live, to continue promotion in GPs practices generally but also to specifically target those where there is low uptake and also to target further  community groups.

  • The campaign website can be viewed at www.screeningsaveslives.co.uk

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