Wolverhampton Cervical Screening Project report

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Wolverhampton undertook research into the views of women about cervical screening and the barriers to attending screening appointments. They undertook a survey and a focus group.  Altogether they spoke to 184 women.

The research found that it is not always clear to people what the purpose is of cervical screening with some respondents seeing it as being a check for sexually transmitted infections or for problems with the womb rather than for pre-cancerous cells in the cervix.

Whilst around half of the survey respondents said that they had never delayed attending a cervical screening appointment, there was a high percentage of respondents who had delayed their appointment. The most frequently cited reason was because they found the process embarrassing. Relatively high percentages also said that they were self-conscious about how their body looked or did not want to undress in front of strangers. The gender of the person carrying out the procedure was also identified as a barrier by focus group attendees, as were cultural concerns relating to the propriety of being examined by male practitioners in particular.

The convenience of being able to book appointments for screening was a reason for delay for some participants and survey respondents were asked about the times and locations that would be most convenient for them to attend. Having appointment available in the mornings and evenings between Monday and Friday and on Saturday mornings were a preference and being able to attend their own GP practice was a preference for the highest number of respondents.

When asked what would encourage them to attend cervical screening appointments as well as having access to flexible appointments, respondents to the survey and the focus group participants felt that having more information from different sources such as the media, or through peer to peer support could help to overcome the barriers to attending.

The relationship between the HPV vaccine and cervical screening was unclear as was the eligibility for the vaccine and the vaccination programme. This may have been due to the age groups that took part in the project and them not having been in the target groups for the vaccination.

There were six recommendations about appointments, cultural barriers to screening, peer support; information about screening, the right to ask for a specific practitioner, and information about HPV vaccine.

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General details

Report title 
Wolverhampton Cervical Screening Project report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Wolverhampton
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 9 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Consent to care and treatment
Health promotion
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
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? 
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 
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
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.