THOUSANDS of women in Hampshire have not attended vital cervical screening appointments, figures show.

To mark Cervical Screening Awareness Week last week, the NHS has released figures showing that around 29 per cent of those eligible for a cervix screening (smear test) within a three-month period did not attend an appointment in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

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NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now urging women and other people with a cervix to come forward and attend their screening appointment.

Smear tests check the health of your cervix which can help to prevent cancer. The test involves checking a sample of cells from your cervix for certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause abnormal changes which may turn into cancer.

Women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited to attend their screening appointment by letter.

Eligible people aged 25 to 49 will be invited to attend every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

The latest data released by NHS Digital and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust shows that of the 473,627 people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (including Portsmouth and Southampton) who were eligible for screening from October to December 2021, only 71 per cent attended their test.

This was slightly down from July to September 2021 when 72 per cent of those eligible had their test.

Dr Nicola Decker, clinical leader at Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG and GP in North Hampshire said: “We all know how difficult it can be to prioritise our own health and wellbeing sometimes, but it’s important to take the time to look after ourselves too.

"While many of those eligible are having their cervical screening test, we still need to encourage more eligible people to come forward and get checked.

“If you are scared of have concerns, please speak to your practice, as they will do all they can to make you feel safe and reassured.”

Following their test, patients are usually sent their results directly, around two weeks after their appointment.

Naomi Thelen, a practice nurse at New Horizons Medical Partnership in Totton, carries out cervical screening tests and wants to reiterate the importance of attending.

She said: “Everyone has a different experience of cervical screening, and we always want to make sure we can make it better for you.

"If it’s your first cervical screening or you feel embarrassed or worried or even if you have had a bad experience in the past, make sure you tell the person doing the smear. We are here to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.”

More information about cervical screening can be found here. 

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