Local GPs are reassuring people that invitations are still being sent for regular cervical screening, and that it is safe to attend GP practices in person if they have been asked to.
As part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, women aged 25-49 are invited for a smear test at their GP practice every three years, while those aged 50-64 receive an invitation for screening every five years. Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect against cervical cancer.
The reminder comes at the end of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week which took place from 18 – 24 January 2021.
Dr Amy Tatham, GP partner at The Ridge Medical Practice and associate clinical director for maternity and women’s health NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says: “We have been hearing from people that they don’t think that GP practices are open for things like cervical smear tests, but I want to reassure you that we are very much still here to help.
“Many people worry about their smear test, but the nurses and GPs who carry out the test are there to support and make it as easy as possible for you. They are happy to have a chat before you book your smear test to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.
“Cervical screening aims to look for any changes to the cervix which could lead to cancer. Spotting the signs early means that treatment is often more successful.
“If following your cervical screening you need to be seen for any follow up investigations at our local hospitals, this will also go ahead just as before the coronavirus pandemic.”
Cervical screening takes just a few minutes and is one of the best ways to help to spot any early signs of cancer. The symptoms of cervical cancer are not usually obvious and people may not get any symptoms until it’s reached an advanced stage.
Dr Tatham adds: “We understand that people might be nervous about coming to their GP practice at the moment. It is safe to come if you have been invited, especially for an important face to face appointment, like a cervical screening test.
“GP practices have taken measures to minimise the risk to patients and staff, by adhering to social distancing measures, undertaking strict infection prevention through things like additional cleaning and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep patients and staff safe.”
If you are overdue for your cervical screening test or are not sure when you are due, people can get in touch with their GP practice.
Dr Tatham has also recorded a short information video explaining why it is still so important to come for a cervical smear test. You can watch the video on YouTube:
Information about cervical screening is available on the NHS website (opens in a new window).