Drop-in cervical screening clinics for NHS and Serco staff were declared a ‘great success’ with 29 women attending during a week-long pilot arranged to coincide with Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. The one-hour clinics were held in the colposcopy department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and were open to any member of staff aged between 20 and 60 who was due to have a cervical smear test or hadn’t had one carried out in the past three years.
Lead Nurse Colposcopist Sister Fiona Mulgrew, who came up with the idea to offer smears to staff, said: “Screening is an important part of preventing cervical cancer and maintaining good health. However, we know time pressures can make it hard for people to fit in a smear test and these clinics were arranged to make it easier for staff to attend.
“All the women said they thought it was a great idea and were hopeful more clinics could be arranged in the future.”
Medical, nursing and clerical staff from the colposcopy department kindly volunteered their time to run the clinics and the health promotion department helped advertise the service through a poster campaign. Support was also provided by the Public Health and Communications Departments. All women who attended the clinics were given a brief questionnaire to complete and the Public Health Department will be evaluating the feedback.
Cervical screening is an important screening test which is unusual in that it can help prevent the development of cancer, and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a ‘best buy’ for cancer prevention. However the uptake rates for cervical screening have declined in all mainland health boards in Scotland over the last 5 years. The uptake rate for Forth Valley in 2013/14 was 72.7% which is below the national target of 80%.