Barnsley Council and The Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust have been named joint winners of the 2014 Cervical Screening Awards. Both teams produced innovative cervical screening campaigns which encourage uptake of screening to specific target groups in their areas.
Barnsley Council launched the 'Fear or Smear' campaign which targeted women aged 25-29 in order to increase screening uptake among this age group. Statistics showed that nearly 29 per cent of the age group were failing to take up their screening invitation across Barnsley.
The campaign, commissioned by NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, involved creating a website with information, outdoor advertising, the distribution of posters and materials throughout the borough, to health care professionals and health care outlets. The campaign also worked with local retail outlets; staff wore branded t-shirts, postcards were put into shopping bags and posters displayed in shop windows.
The second awarded campaign was implemented by Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with community arts organisation 'Them Wifies'. The initiative called 'Josephine Visits the New Croft Centre' aimed to improve uptake of cervical screening amongst women with learning disabilities who are about 45 per cent less likely to attend their cervical screening.
'Them Wifies' had previously developed Josephine – an interactive learning resource which is a life size anatomically correct cloth woman called Josephine. Working with women with a learning disability already signed up to a 10 week course with 'Them Wifies', Newcastle upon Tyne Foundation Trust were able to meet the women as part of the course giving a session on cervical screening. Overall the project involved following Josephine's experience of attending cervical screening; from initial invitation, to a live screening consultation and receiving her results. The women with learning disabilities were present throughout the consultation acting as Josephine's 'friends'.
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said: "The NHS Cervical Screening Programme saves around 5,000 lives each year and yet across the UK 1 in 5 women are not taking up their screening invitation. We know that there are specific groups of women where uptake is worse meaning that we need very targeted campaigns at a local level to change these numbers. It's great to see that these two fantastic and innovative campaigns have addressed specific barriers to screening amongst specific groups of women. Educating them about the importance of cervical screening will mean they are able to make an informed choice about a five minute test that could save their life."