Wigan GP teams' smear test record

Wigan based GP network SSP Health has recorded the highest ever number of cervical screenings in a single day.
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The vital smear testing and cervical screening record, saw 56 smear tests and cervical screenings carried out in a single day across five Greater Manchester practices represents a 25 per cent increase in tests compared to a full day of booked appointments.

Around 2,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year and approximately 690 women die from the disease – around two deaths every day.

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Latest figures from the NHS from March 2021 show that nearly a third (30 per cent) of eligible individuals aged between 25 and 64 - were not screened.

Members of the SSP teamMembers of the SSP team
Members of the SSP team

And last month NHS England data showed a quarter of the 83,910 women eligible for cervical screening in Wigan during 2020-21 did not attend an appointment.

A new survey released yesterday by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with the support of the NHS shows embarrassment was the most common reason for not booking a screening appointment (42 per cent) and almost two-thirds (63 per cent) said they were nervous when they did attend.

As part of the effort to get back on track with regular screenings following Covid, the SSP Health team carried out a patient outreach campaign using SMS, telephone and social media inviting patients with outstanding scheduled smear tests to the walk-in clinic.

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The aim was to raise awareness of the important need for the test, facts about the smear itself and also guidance for those who were unsure and needed support or had childcare issues.

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Over the course of the day the SSP Health team achieved a total of 56 smear tests, 11 more than a rare, fully booked day of appointments, five flu jabs and 20 health checks completed by the assistant practitioner representing a positive step forward in preventative medicine at a time when flu vaccinations are at record lows across the UK.

Dr Shikha Pitalia, founder and medical director of SSP Health, said: “This is a highly sensitive but vitally important subject that some women can be very nervous about.

“We aim to be as sensitive as possible for women coming for these tests.

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“We always offer women the opportunity to bring their children and clinics at convenient times to make it as easy and discreet as possible.

“Offering vital services, such as smears tests, is a key focus for SPP Health, to ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of the local community and I am incredibly proud of the amazing effort put in by the team to deliver this incredibly important service.”

SSP will be holding further clinics in the coming months and the clinics will be open to all SSP Health patients.

For more information on your local SSP Health surgery and to find out what services are offered, visit www.ssphealth.com

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