Supporting health and wellbeing through cervical screening

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is committed to creating awareness and promoting increased attendance for screening appointments. The Trust is working relentlessly to improve awareness among both the public and its own staff, to increase uptake of regular cervical screening testing. In June of this year, Gateshead Health in partnership with Roche Diagnostics held a flash mob at the famous Angel of the North site, as part of the ongoing public awareness campaign – Let’s Talk Cervical Screening.

People in Gateshead and surrounding areas can now be more confident and informed about their health thanks to the ongoing Let’s Talk Cervical Screening campaign. Earlier this year, the campaign’s flash mob event was just one example of Gateshead Health’s ongoing efforts to educate and empower women and people with a cervix about HPV and cervical screening, also known more commonly as a ‘smear test’.

By addressing concerns and providing valuable information, Let’s Talk Cervical Screening, in partnership with Gateshead Health, is helping women and people with a cervix take control of their health and well-being.

According to reports, almost all (99.8 per cent) of cervical cancers are preventable if eligible individuals engage with the NHS cervical screening programme. However, in the North East region, around 38,000 people between the ages of 24 to 64 are not up to date with their screening.

Last Autumn we caught up with Sharon Denise Clark, joint colposcopy lead and lead nurse specialist as we looked at a Day in the life of a Colposcopy lead and nurse specialist.

Sharon Denise Clark, joint colposcopy lead and lead nurse specialist
Sharon Denise Clark, joint colposcopy lead and lead nurse specialist

Sharon explains how cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in those with a cervix under the age of 35, yet 1 in 3 do not attend routine cervical screening.

Gateshead Health has been making a significant effort towards raising awareness about screening and the importance of staying up to date. One of the ways in which this has been carried out is by looking inwards towards the staff that comprise Gateshead Health and raising awareness amongst staff to get checked. The Trust is also working to encourage staff to lead by example by raising awareness of cervical screening and cervical cancer in the workplace and supporting staff to look after their cervical health.

Gateshead Health is also working with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, which promotes the ‘Time to Test’ workplace initiative. This initiative aims to remove barriers for staff to access cervical screening, as well as improving communication and education around what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’. This, in turn, will help improve long-term health outcomes.

The goal is to create an environment where staff feel able to raise topics such as cervical screening and other health concerns, ensuring they are able to attend this potentially life-saving test.

Sharon Denise Clark said:

“By introducing staff cervical screening clinics we aim to reduce health inequalities and improve long-term health outcomes within our teams. We also encourage anyone eligible to go along for their screening appointment when they are called – it is an important test that could make a real difference to their long-term health.”

Sharon Denise Clark