This week I pressed health officials about what more they could be doing to improve the NHS’s Cervical Screening Programme, as part of a Public Accounts Committee inquiry on this issue.

The programme, which sees all women aged 25 to 64 invited for a screening test, saves an estimated 5,000 lives every year through the prevention of cervical cancer. However, attendance is falling every year and screening is at a 20-year low. In Sunderland, nearly 1 in 4 eligible women didn’t attend their test in 2017-18.

While Public Health England has recently launched a welcome campaign to encourage take-up, more could be done to reverse the worrying downward trend.
There are various reasons why women don’t attend their screenings, and I raised specific concerns about the convenience and availability of screening appointments, as well as awareness of the programme and its importance.

Bridget Phillipson MP during this week
Bridget Phillipson MP during this week's Public Accounts Committee in Parliament
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