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A new pilot project is starting in Portsmouth today (Tuesday 17th January) to encourage more women to have potentially life-saving tests which can detect cancer.
NHS Portsmouth is launching the Cervical Screening Out-of-Hours Project in response to falling numbers of women – both locally and nationally - who are participating in the scheme.
Data has shown that a significant number of patients have failed to attend an appointment for cervical changes that can eventually lead to cervical cancer.
Amy Pollard, public health development manager for NHS Portsmouth, said: “The national trend of fewer women coming forward for screening is reflected in Portsmouth.
“Our average uptake across the city is well below the national target of 80% - and in some areas, for the 25-30 age groups, is as low as 50% of women who attend screening after being invited to do so.
“To try to combat this, we conducted a social marketing exercise, in partnership with local women and NHS providers of healthcare services, to determine the barriers affecting uptake.
“As a result, a number of out-of-hours clinics, supported by a specialist female-run call centre, have been set up to encourage women who had not attended their screening appointment for some time to attend.”
All eligible women will be telephoned and invited to attend a screening session at the most convenient time in either the north of south of the city.
Four GP surgeries will host the clinics.