The NHS Is Changing The Way It Invites Women To Cervical Screenings And It's So Important

After the number of women having cervical screenings dropped to a staggering 20-year low, NHS bosses have revealed they're changing the way women will be invited to their appointments.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer, but despite screenings - also known as smear tests - being the best way of detecting cell abnormalities before it's too late, 81 per cent of women admitted delaying or putting off their smear.

Credit: Public Health England
Credit: Public Health England

In a bid to get more women attending their smears, Public Health England is launching its first ever advert urging women to book their screening, as part of new campaign Cervical Screening Saves Lives.

As part of the campaign, which is the first of its kind, PHE will now introduce new screening invitation letters, leaflets and result letters and it's so important.

Previously, women were invited to the screening as a 'choice', with the invitation reading: "It's up to you whether or not to have cervical screening. To help you make a decision, we have enclosed a leaflet about what cervical screening involves, and the benefits and risks."

The letter would come along with a leaflet titled 'NHS cervical screening - helping you decide, outlining the benefits and 'risks' of having a smear test.

Of course, it is a women's choice as to whether she attends a screening as it cannot - and absolutely should not - be forced upon anyone, but so much emphasis on the word 'choice' could arguable undermine the importance of the life-saving screenings.

It's not known yet how the new invitations will be worded following the campaign's review, but with statistics confirming that far too many women are skipping their smears, it's clear as day that something has to change if we are to save lives.

Tonight (Tuesday 5th) an advert urging women not to skip their smears will air on television for the first time ever.

If you're worried about getting your smear, you can read what actually happens at your appointment here.

Featured Image Credit: PRETTY52/Shannon Bulmer

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Junior Journalist at PRETTY52. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the team in 2017. Contact her on

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp