Cervical cancer screening project

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Bolton undertook research on cervical cancer screening and related experiences in Bolton.  They chose this topic following consulting on potential health and wellbeing activity for 2019 -20. The work was conducted between July 2019 – February 2020.  They spoke to 1,342 people via a survey and a number of focus groups.  The general aim of the project was to establish what is and is not known by local people in Bolton about cervical screening. They also hoped to highlight potential community cancer champions, which will ensure the work of increasing participation in cervical screening is sustainable.

Nearly 4 in 5 people felt that cervical screening was very important to them. Two in three felt it was important to prevent ill health or diagnose it at an early sage or to stay healthy.  Just over half had been affected by screening results or knew someone who had.  Almost all were aware of the purpose of cervical screening, and over nine in ten knew where to get information about it. Nearly nine in ten had been invited for a screening.  Most of these felt positive when they were invited. Nearly all had attended a screening.

The findings from the focus groups and engagement is split into general feedback and specific feedback from minority ethnic groups.  The general groups were shocked to hear the number of people being diagnosed and the low uptake of screening.  They felt that a range of measures could help increase attendance, including better education.  The minority ethnic groups told Healthwatch that the lack of information about screening in community languages was a barrier, but also that some people couldn’t read or write so couldn’t understand the letters.  People felt reassured when they learnt they could ask for a specific nurse or wear a long skirt for screening appointments.  They also felt that more education was needed, not just in schools but also faith settings to tackle myths.

The report contains 10 recommendations about how to improve take up of cervical screening, including appointments and how they are conducted, better education, working closely with women from minority ethnic backgrounds who don’t attend appointments, highlight the need for unmarried women from BAME communities to still attend cervical screening and educate men in the community about the need for women to attend cervical screening – so women can be supported to attend. 

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General details

Report title 
Cervical cancer screening project
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Bolton
Date of publication 
Monday, 5 October, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 July, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 29 February, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Other information of note about this report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Diagnostic and/or screening service - single handed sessional providers

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
All people 18 and over
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.