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Comment on declining cervical screening attendance in Scotland

Tue, 04/09/2018 - 09:51

Today the annual cervical screening uptake statistics were released in Scotland. Uptake is now at 72.8%. Having fallen from 73.4% from last year and across every age group.

Key stats from the report include:

  • Attendance is lowest in those aged under 30 at 62% and highest among those aged 50-54 at 80.3%
  • The biggest fall was in those aged 25-29, the first age of invitation falling from 63.1% to 62%
  • The Health Board with the lowest uptake is Greater Glasgow and Clyde which fell below 70% to 69.3%, this compares to Shetland where uptake is highest at 79.5%.
  • Uptake is highest among HPV vaccinated women compared to non-vaccinated women

Commenting on today’s statistics:

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said:

“I am sad to see that attendance has once again fallen across every age group meaning with well over one in four women not taking up their invitation. Cervical screening remains the best protection against cervical cancer and falling attendance means we are only going to see diagnoses of this life destroying disease which could have be prevented. There is no one, quick fix to turning round this situation, instead we need sustained, collaborated and concerted effort nationally and locally. We can all do something to help reverse this downward trend. From national awareness campaigns to employers allowing staff the time to attend to speaking to talking about the importance of the test with family and friends.

Innovation and improved access is essential if we are to see uptake improve and it is positive that the Scottish government are investing in new projects to reduce inequalities in screening, this includes funding our new community outreach work. Our latest research found 86% of Scottish women would prefer to self-sample at home and I hope to see this offered as part of the programme soon.

I don’t want to see lives lost that could have been prevented and really hope that next year’s statistics reflect this. Screening is not an easy test for lots of women, the barriers to attendance are personal and can be multiple. However it is an important one so I would encourage all women to take up their invitation.”