News from Unmesh Desai: Worrying decrease in cervical screening in Newham

14 June 2018

There has been a drop in the number of eligible women being screened for cervical cancer in Newham according to the latest NHS data. Local London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai AM has described this as “a concerning move in the wrong direction.” He also said it was “further evidence that the NHS needs to be allocated more resources to effectively engage with women across our community.” His remarks coincide with Cervical Screening Awareness Week which runs from Monday 11th to Sunday 17th June.

 

Cervical screening looks for abnormal cells in the cervix that can develop into cancer.

 

The most recent statistics, which cover the period of March 2016-March 2017, show that there was a 0.4% decrease in the number of eligible women aged 25-64 years who were adequately screened in Newham, compared to the previous year.

 

This reflects the national trend where there has been a 0.7% reduction in screening coverage, down to 72%. The fall in coverage comes in spite of the fact that there was an increase in the number of women, totalling 4.45 million, invited to undertake a screening.

 

London has the lowest average rate of coverage in the country with only two thirds of eligible women having gone through the screening programme between 2016 and 2017. Mr Desai AM said he was backing calls for the Mayor of London to consider how to further promote awareness of cervical screening in the capital.

 

Local London Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai AM, said:

 

“Cervical screenings save lives, and it is clear more must be done to encourage all eligible women to undertake them.

 

“It might be that the downward trend we are seeing in our local community, and across the capital, is due to our increasingly transient population, with less Londoners registering with a GP, or down to a lack of NHS resources.

 

“With the level of take up in London lagging behind the national average, it’s vital the Mayor takes action to address this serious health inequality. That’s why I’m backing calls for Sadiq Khan to look into how we can promote awareness of cervical screening in the capital.

 

“The Government must also do their part by looking at how screenings can be made more accessible and ensuring that adequate resources are in place to enable the NHS to reach more women.”

 

Notes to editors

 

  • The most recent data, obtained from the NHS, which covers the period of 31st March 2016- 31st March 2017, shows that there was a 0.4% decrease in the number of eligible women aged 25-64 years who were adequately screened in Newham, compared to the previous year.

 

  • On a national level there has been a 0.7% reduction in screenings amongst this group, from 72.7% to 72%;

 

  • As a region, London has the lowest average rate of coverage in the country with 65.7% of eligible women having gone through the screening programme between 2016 and 2017;

 

  • Information about Cervical Screening Awareness Week can be found here;

 

  • Labour London Assembly Spokesperson for Health, Onkar Sahota AM, has written to the Mayor of London to ask about his plans to promote awareness of cervical screening in the capital. You can find the letter attached to this email.

 

  • Unmesh Desai AM is the London Assembly Member for City and East.

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