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Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation has won a national award for their work to increase cervical screening (smear test) attendance. Their initiative has been awarded the top prize by charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust in their annual Cervical Screening Awards. 26 out of 29 GP practices in Hammersmith and Fulham participated in the project, with almost 1000 women attending a cervical screening appointment as a result.
Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer, however one in four women do not attend the test when invited. Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust created the Cervical Screening Awards in 2010 to acknowledge organisations working to increase awareness and attendance in their areas. It is announcing the winners during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20-26 January 2020).
Hammersmith and Fulham has one of the lowest cervical screening uptake rates in England, with just over half of eligible women taking up their invitation in 2019. To counter this, the GP Federation, in collaboration with RM Partners, the west London Cancer Alliance hosted by The Royal Marsden, “established a dedicated cervical screening project team from April 2018, in order to address low uptake in the borough.” As part of the winning campaign, they “delivered cervical screening clinics at practices easily accessible by public transport and in areas requiring specific attention”, such as those with lowest uptake or particularly deprived areas.
The team proactively reached out to women who were overdue cervical screening, to encourage them to book an appointment. Dedicated clinics were held at accessible times such as evenings and weekends. The team also designed a “bespoke video to publicise the service” which has been viewed over 52,000 times, as well as communications aimed at black and minority ethnic women, a group who were underrepresented at screening in the area.
Caroline Durack, Director of Operations, Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation: “We are delighted to have received the National Award in recognition of our proactive service which not only supports improved access to cervical screening but in raising patient awareness of why this test is so important for cervical cancer prevention”
Nicola Hunt, Managing Director of RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance: “This award is a fantastic acknowledgement of all the hard work that has been done to increase cervical screening participation in the borough by making the tests more accessible. Early diagnosis is key to improving survival from cancer, and we are proud to have been partners with Hammersmith and Fulham on this successful initiative.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "I would like to personally congratulate Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation for their commitment, their excellent work and I hope that their work encourages others to invest in prevention campaigns. These forward-thinking initiatives provide excellent examples of what can be done locally to increase low screening uptake. Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer and it is only through concerted local action such as those demonstrated by our winners that we are going to see attendance continue to increase. It is vital that we share and learn about successful local efforts to encourage good practice to be carried out across the UK."
Five further organisations received an award:
For information about the Cervical Screening Awards visit jostrust.org.uk/professionals/health-professionals/get-involved/cervical-screening-awards
For more information or media enquiries contact [email protected] or call 020 30968100.
Notes to editors
The judging panel for the Cervical Screening Awards consisted of: Tim Elliott, Senior Policy Adviser, Cancer Acute Care and Provider Department of Health; Ruth Stubbs, National cervical screening programme manager, Public Health England; Tracy Curtis, Programme Manager, National Specialist and Screening Services Directorate, NHS Scotland; Louise Dunk, Head of Programme, Cervical Screening Wales; Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust (www.jostrust.org.uk) is the UK’s only dedicated charity offering support and information to women of all ages and their loved ones affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. The National Helpline is on 0808 802 8000.