Brighton women shun smear tests

by Nenad Stojkovic from Wikimedia Commons

Just two in three Brighton and Hove women are having smear tests, one of the lowest rates in England.

Councillors have called for action to raise the levels higher for cervical screening and other gender-related screening services.

The issue was raised at Heath Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday (Wednesday 13 July) by Labour councillor Amanda Evans.

Councillor Evans asked for a report to be brought to the committee’s next meeting, in October, and for the report to include a breakdown of the minority groups attending cervical screening services.

She also asked if other gender-related screening programmes, such as breast cancer screening, could be included.

Green councillor Pete West asked if the report could also include other gender-related screening too. He said: “I’m looking to be reassured that we will cover men’s issues as well as women’s.

“I don’t know where we are with various male conditions and whether or not we’re seeing success for screening programmes, but can we make sure that it is all gender-specific issues.”

Labour councillor Clare Moonan, who chairs the committee, suggested a look at the uptake of screening services geographically and by different ethnic groups.

She invited councillors to join her to meet with public health officials to “scope out” whether the committee needed one report or two on medical screening services.

NHS figures for 2020-21 found that only 64 per cent of the 88,000 women eligible for cervical screening in Brighton and Hove attended an appointment.

The national average is closer to 70 per cent, and the government target is for 80 per cent of all women to attend the screening.

Cervical screening is for all women over 25 years, with screenings every three years for women aged 25 to 49 and every five years for women aged 50 to 64.

  1. AO Reply

    Can’t people be left make their own decisions? Why the constant hectoring? These people are adults.

    • Andy Richards Reply

      Probably because when people have undetected advanced cancers which could have been treated more easily if found earlier it puts more burden on the NHS, leaving aside the personal trauma. Why do people find the idea of the NHS trying to get ahead of the game, saving resources and sparing people pain, so terribly threatening?

      A bit of “hectoring” is a lot less harmful than serious illness.

  2. Keith Reply

    My wife went for the free test. Piece of mind.

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