Leeds experts develop new tool to boost cervical cancer screening numbers

A new online tool developed by experts in Leeds has been launched in a bid to boost the number of women being screened for cervical cancer.

Smear test

NHS bosses hope the interactive dashboard, which identified areas where screening levels are lower, will improve attendance and coverage of the tests across the UK.

The tool will be used by GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and has been unveiled as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

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It comes as latest figures show the number of women taking the potentially lifesaving test is falling.

Pritpal Rayat, analytical section head for screening and immunisations at NHS Digital, said: “The new dashboard will make more timely information available about this important area in greater detail than ever before.

“Users will be able to access the data in a range of visually dynamic ways, such as interactive maps and charts, as well as data tables.

“We hope this useful online resource will help support and empower GP practices, local authorities and CCGs to improve cervical screening attendance and coverage, thus ensuring more of those at risk of cervical cancer are diagnosed as early as possible.

“The development of this dashboard is a great example of good practice in collaborative working on a high-profile, sensitive area between organisations with a shared interest – NHS Digital, Public Health England and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.”

NHS Digital, Public Health England (PHE) and the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity collaborated to create the new online tool.

The dashboard will provide more detailed and timely information, collated by local authorities, CCGs and GP practices.

Bosses at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust say the tool will be “a valuable resource” for healthcare organisations across the country.

Robert Music, chief executive of the charity, said: “Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer however attendance of this potentially life-saving test is falling. GP practices and commissioners have a vital role to play in encouraging attendance and the new dashboard provides them with a valuable resource to benchmark their own performance, look to higher performing areas for inspiration and fully evaluate the success of activities they have undertaken.

“We are proud to have worked with NHS Digital and Public Health England on the creation of the dashboard and hope it provides both the insight and the motivation needed for practices to consider how they can increase attendance in their area.”