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Cervical Cancer: Screening

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to increase participation of women aged 25 to 35 years in the cervical screening programme, as referred to in paragraph 3.9 of his Department's Cancer Reform Strategy; and what his latest estimate is of the proportion of 25 to 35-year-old women participating in the cervical screening programme (a) in 2008 and (b) in the previous five years. (220935)

NHS Cancer Screening Programmes is commissioning a £250,000 Improvement Foundation project to tackle the falling participation of women aged 25 to 35 in the NHS cervical screening programme. Five primary care trusts have been invited to participate in this project.

Information on the proportion of women aged 25 to 35 participating in the NHS cervical screening programme in 2008 is not yet available.

National policy for the NHS cervical screening programme is that eligible women aged 25 to 49 are to be screened every 3.5 years. The following table shows the percentage of eligible women aged between 25 and 34 years with a cervical screening test result in the previous 3.5 years for the last five years.

Percentage

Coverage

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Women aged 25-29

65

64.1

62.5

60.8

59.8

Women aged 30-34

71

70.2

68.9

68.5

68.1

Note: Coverage is the percentage of eligible women with a cervical screening test result in the previous 3.5 years. Source: ONS/The Information Centre, Cervical Screening Programme: England 2006-07, Table 1.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the average time taken to return cervical screening test results to women following a test; and what advice has been issued to the NHS on achieving the two-week turnaround time standard on cervical screening results, as referred to in paragraph 3.14 of his Department's Cancer Reform Strategy. (220946)

The information requested for England in 2006-07, the latest year for which figures are available, is shown in the table for the 93 per cent. of local programmes where the result letter is sent by a primary care organisation:

Cervical screening programme: time from screening to availability of result in England, 2006-07

Percentage

Up to 4 weeks

48

>4 weeks up to 6 weeks

26

>6 weeks up to 8 weeks

14

>8 weeks up to 10 weeks

7

> 10 weeks up to 12 weeks

4

Over 12 weeks

2

Source:

Cervical Screening programme England 2006-07 (National Statistics and The Information Centre).

Advice to the national health service (NHS, Gateway number: 9782) on achieving the new 14 day turnaround time for the results of cervical screening was issued in “The Week” (issue 42, 18-24 April 2008). The advice asked strategic health authorities to bid for their local cervical screening services to receive support in achieving the 14 day turnaround time from NHS Improvement: Cancer as part of a three year rolling programme. Nine local screening services have now been identified as part of wave 1 of the programme, and NHS Improvement: Cancer will begin working with them shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of women he estimates participated in the cervical screening programme in the last year for which figures are available in each primary care trust area in England. (220947)

I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave the hon. Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds) on 31 January 2008, Official Report, columns 617-36W, which provides information on cervical screening coverage across England, broken down by primary care trust.

Coverage is the percentage of eligible women who have had a cervical screening test result in the previous five years.