With ongoing concerns about the downward trend in cervical screening uptake and women stating reasons such as not being able to take time off work for appointments and most GP surgeries not being open at convenient times, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust commissioned the following YouGov survey in 2011. The survey was set up to explore the influence that flexibility from both employers and GP surgeries has on women attending their cervical screening.
- Over a third of women of screening age that work (39%) and have missed or delayed appointments said they didn’t find it easy to leave work in order to attend cervical screening appointments and more than a quarter (26%) admitted they would be more encouraged to attend if their company was more flexible and they didn’t have to take holiday for an appointment.
- Only 16% of women of screening age (25-64 year olds) that have missed or delayed appointments agreed that their GP surgery offers screening appointments in the evenings or on weekends which has made it easier to attend a screening.
- Almost a third (29%) of women of screening age (25-64 year olds) who missed or delayed a screening appointment said it is hard to book an appointment for cervical screening at a convenient time.
- Of women of screening age (25-64 year olds) who had missed or delayed appointments, 35% agreed that if GP surgery opening times had been more flexible it would have encouraged them or even ensured they attended those appointments.
The survey highlights the need for more flexibility both from employers and for appointment times from GP clinics. The charity is now hoping to run campaigns that encourage companies to put cervical screening onto their health agenda. The charity's Cervical Screening Awards also looks for best practice from healthcare professionals as well as organisations which have increased screening uptake in their community.