Primary Care cervical screening, County Durham

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Summary of report content

The Healthwatch County Durham work plan for 2016/17 included research into the barriers to health screening programmes. This is linked to the refreshed Primary Care Strategies of the North Durham and Durham, Dales Sedgefield and Easington Clinical Commissioning Groups. The work plan specifically required Healthwatch County Durham to research screening programmes which have the poorest uptake to explore the reasons for this. The cervical cancer screening programme plays an important part in preventing cervical cancer and reducing late diagnosis. Cervical cancer prevention week 2018 took place at the end of January and Healthwatch County Durham took the opportunity to research the uptake of cancer screening in the county to see why some eligible people were not taking part in the screening programme and if there was anything that could be done to encourage more people to participate The key points raised by the nearly 900 women who responded to the survey were: it was easier to delay or forget about the screening as they receive a letter to make an appointment, rather than an actual date to attend.; nursing staff need to be mindful about the way in which they interact or talk to patients. Unintentional actions or comments can have an impact on women and can make them reluctant to have the procedure repeated; and that there need to be continued efforts to reinforce the importance of attending screening, including information about the HPV vaccination and how it ties in with the screening programme. Of note were the 25 women said they were too frightened or embarrassed to attend when invited for screening. Healthwatch County Durham noted that the leaflet that is sent out with the invitation letter does not give enough clarity about the importance of still attending for cervical screening if you have had the HPV Vaccination. There was also a suggestion that there could be a more effective follow-up procedure, for instance using texts or emails as well as letters and suggesting times to attend or setting up on-line appointments systems for screening may improve uptake.

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General details

Report title 
Primary Care cervical screening, County Durham
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch County Durham
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 March, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 January, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 31 January, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Consent to care and treatment
Health protection
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
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
GP practice

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Gynaecological conditions
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Not known
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people's views? 
Not known
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? 

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.