Women from Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough are now able to attend their cervical screening appointments on evenings and weekends if convenient, under new arrangements agreed between the two local authorities and the South Tees Out of Hours GP service.
A cervical screening, also known as a smear test is a free, simple, routine test available to all women aged 25-64, every 3-5 years. Cervical screening prevents 75% of cervical cancers from developing in the UK yet one in four women do not attend cervical screening when invited, normally due to fear or embarrassment or not understanding its importance.
Many women are also put off attending due to GP appointments being unavailable at times convenient to them. It is hoped that by allowing women to schedule their appointments on evenings or weekends at one of the 4 Out of Hours practices, this will increase uptake and mean less women are missing appointments.
Appointments will be available between 6.30pm -9.30pm Mondays to Fridays and 8.00am-9.30pm on weekends in one of the 4 Out of Hours GP Centres which are :
– Redcar Primary Care Hospital
– East Cleveland Hospital, Brotton
– One Life Centre, Middlesbrough
– North Ormesby Health Village
Appointments can be made through the patient’s own GP practice for screenings at one of these centres. The centres are also adopting the “No Fear” approach established recently in some GP practices across the area, which aims to remove any fear and embarrassment from cervical screenings.
Edward Kunonga, Director of Public Health for Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland Councils said: “Cervical screening is the best way for women to protect themselves from cervical cancer. The screening programme saves thousands of lives every year, yet many women do not attend their appointments – we hope that offering more convenient appointment times will make it much easier for women to attend these essential screenings.”
Dr Andrew Threadgold, Clinical Director of the Star Service said “Our Service is very keen to provide GP services to the harder to reach patients in the region such as those who work full time or have other commitments. Given the importance of Cervical Screening and its low uptake we are delighted to be able to offer these clinics for our patients and we hope to roll out further services in the future.’”
For more information on cervical screening speak to your GP or visit www.screeningsaveslives.co.uk