According to the BBC, the NHS has commissioned a pilot scheme, created by King’s College London and University College London Hospitals Cancer Collaborative, for women to be provided with a “Do It Yourself” self-sampling smear test kit.
This follows the first cervical screening advert, run by Public Health England, which was launched in March 2019, in a bid to “normalise the procedure.” The advert is expected to run for 8 weeks on TV, radio stations and online.
It is hoped that employing these strategies will lead to an increase in the number of women attending their cervical screening test appointments. The BBC states that the “NHS target is for 80%… but in some areas uptake has dropped below 50%.” It is thought that many women do not attend due to embarrassment, fear or a previous bad experience.
According to the BBC, “every year about 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and nearly 700 die from the disease.” The DIY kit will test for human papillomavirus, which is a virus that causes 99% of cervical cancer cases.
The pilot scheme has been supported by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust which states: home testing could be a “game changer.” Robert Music, the Chief Executive of the charity comments that this “will be of enormous benefit to many people.”
The kit will contain a vaginal swab and will collect a sample in minutes. The kit will also provide a freepost envelope or box for women to send their sample for testing.
The former cancer director for England, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has told the Public Accounts Committee that the pilot had “great promise”.
The kit will be piloted in London, which has the “lowest average screening coverage in England at 64.7%” and the organisers are hoping to reach more than 22,000 women. Professor Sir Mike Richards has said that if the pilot “is successful, it might well be able to reach people who aren’t being reached by the current service.”
Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence claims and have an experienced team who have successfully helped women to recover compensation for failures to refer or diagnose cervical cancer. If you have concerns about the treatment received by you or a loved one please telephone us on 0116 254 7456 to see if we can help you.