Cervical cancer screening appointments have been offered to staff at Poole Hospital to raise awareness of how screening can help identify the onset of the disease.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 in the UK and more than 3,000 women are diagnosed every year.
Screening attendance is currently at a 19 year low across the country and this has had serious implications for diagnosis rates and mortality and also financial implications for the NHS.
The event was organsied to promote this simple, quick and painless procedure that determines the health of the cervix. The screenings were open to all staff who have an invitation letter from Public Health England.
The fully-booked event took place in the hospital’s Harbourside gynaecology unit on 13 May and was run in association with Dorset HealthCare’s Sexual Health Dorset service.
“It’s not always easy to arrange an appointment at a GP surgery if you work shifts and have a busy family life,” said Louise Melson, obstetrics and gynaecology consultant and lead for colposcopy services at the hospital.
“This was a chance for staff to have a screening at a time that suits them and me and the team are keen to increase screening rates by doing all we can to help.”
Staff who had a screening were very positive about the day. One commented: “Brilliant idea to have at the hospital. Should happen more often as it’s really hard to fit in something like this when working shifts.”
Mortality rates for cervical cancer have decreased by almost 70% since the introduction of the NHS cervical screening programme. If you would like to know more about screenings visit the NHS website or contact your local GP or sexual health service.
Photo: Nicky Arnold, healthcare assistant, Lynne Cullen, Harbourside gynaecology centre secretary, Georgina Floyd, operational manager, women’s health, Benita Fillingham, sister Harbourside gynaecology unit and Heidi Boreham, healthcare assistant