Northamptonshire women wait too long for cervical screening results

Nearly 60 per cent of women tested are waiting too long for their cervical screening results in Northamptonshire
Nearly 60 per cent of women tested are waiting too long for their cervical screening results in Northamptonshire

Nearly 60 per cent of women who had a cervical screening in Northamptonshire in 2018 to 19 waited longer than two weeks for their results.

NHS guidelines say women should get their cervical screening results within 14 days, but 25,872 women screened in Northamptonshire waited for longer than two weeks.

Public Health England and the NHS are encouraging women to attend their cervical screening

Public Health England and the NHS are encouraging women to attend their cervical screening

According to data published by the NHS today, 37 per cent of women tested in Northamptonshire got their results after two weeks but within three weeks of their screening.

More than a fifth of women tested waited even longer for their results, with 22.6 per cent of women getting their letters after three weeks.

Women wait longer in Northamptonshire than across England as a whole. Just more than 50 per cent of women tested in England wait longer than two weeks for their results.

The worst area for waiting for cervical screening results is Brighton and Hove, where 98.4 per cent of women tested waited for more than three weeks.

Women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for a cervical screening, sometimes called a smear.

The charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said: "Cervical screening is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. It checks for cell changes (abnormal cells) on your cervix caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). It is not a test for cancer."

This year, 43,400 letters were sent to women who were tested in Northamptonshire and more than 95 per cent had negative (normal) test results with no changes detected in their cervical cells.

Women are invited for cervical screening up to six months before their 25th birthday.

They are then screened every three years until 49. Between the ages of 50 and 64, women are screened every five years.

Women aged 65 or older will be invited for a screening if one of their last three tests was abnormal.

Depending on the results of the screening, women might be told no further treatment is needed or booked in for another test in one years time.

Some women will be referred for a colposcopy, which is another kind of test to look at the cervix.

Women are encouraged to attend their screenings because changes in cervical cells can help detect cancer earlier, but more than one million women invited to a cervical screening England in 2018-19 did not attend their smear.