154,934 registered members
End of open access to cervical screening
[Posted: Wed 29/07/2009 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
The national cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck, is to end open access to the scheme for women seeking cervical smears from September 1.
From that date, it is implementing a call and recall system, where the programme will invite selected groups of the population for screening at specific times and recalls them when their next test is due.
The change in policy has been criticised by the Well Woman Centre and by some GPs, whio claim it could lead to some at-risk groups of women not having access to screening.
This, however, has been denied by CervicalCheck.
Since its launch on September 1 last, CervicalCheck has been an open access system for any women between the ages of 25 and 60 who wanted to avail of it.
From September 1, however, the scheme will operate on an "invitation-only" basis for women selected by CervicalCheck.
However, the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) says it will exempt some groups from invitation-only screening including women over the age of 60 who have never had a smear test and women, regardless of age, undergoing colposcopy treatment follow-up.
In addition, women aged 25 to 60 who have not had a smear test in the previous three years can, from September 1, avail of an opt-in facility through online registration on http://www.cervicalcheck.ie
These women can complete and return a registration form by free post or by calling 1800 45 45 55.
A spokeswoman for CervicalCheck said that to date, women who have attended for screening have generally been those who look after their health. "So we now have to target those women who have not been attending to date."
She said this would include women from deprived areas and lower socio-economic groups, who usually are at higher risk of cervical cancer.
CervicalCheck said outside the specific targeted groups, the new system will involve choosing women to be screened at random based on age and geographical spread.
Tony O'Brien, CEO of the National Cancer Screening Service, said the women who have presented for screening since last year are now part of an appropriate and organised screening cycle.
"It has always been the intent of CervicalCheck to operate on a population-based approach to screening in accordance with the best international practice, to maximise target population coverage.
"The programme must now focus on motivating those women who have not proactively attended for screening."
CervicalCheck says a successful national cervical screening programme, based on 80% uptake, has the potential to cut the incidence of cervical cancer by up to 80%.
"This transition will ensure that an effective and efficient approach to screening is maintained and that the essential target uptake of 80% is achieved."
The Dublin Well Woman Centres recently warned against the creation of additional barriers for women who needed to access cervical screening.
Visit irishhealth.com's Sexual Health Clinic here
|fioc Posted: 31/07/2009 19:19|
Crazy- this invite only scheme will put off women who may be opportunistically picked up x recall by their Gps for smears....
|buzz Posted: 04/08/2009 09:19|
Does this mean that if one has not yet had a smear test that they should go for one as soon as possible? Age 25
|Anonymous Posted: 04/08/2009 11:23|
I think it is unfair to change the scheme like that.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|