Calls for action to reduce waiting time for cervical screening results

The NHS says it recognises the problem with delays in test results. Picture: ARCHANT

The NHS says it recognises the problem with delays in test results. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: EDP pics © 2003

Calls has been made to bring down waiting times for cervical screening results after a Houghton woman said she had to wait three months to receive hers.

Deborah Bacon was shocked when she was told by a nurse at her surgery that she would have to wait 12 weeks to receive her smear test results.

The 50-year-old, who goes to a GP surgery in Huntingdon, said she had never had to wait as long for other results and was worried that the long wait time would put people off going for their test.

Deborah said: “I was honestly so shocked. I have had many smear tests in the past and never had to wait this long, when I found out I was shocked.

“I know the NHS are trying to encourage people to go and have their smear test done, however, the longer that people are going to have to wait for results the more anxious they will be about getting them done.

“It can be really daunting as it is, but having to wait three months will just discourage people to not have theirs done.

“Not only that but if people do have abnormalities in their results, waiting three months to find out what they are could be a little bit too long, and I would have thought it would be better to get it sorted straight away.”

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The purpose of a cervical screening, which was previously known as a smear test, is to try and detect abnormal cells on the cervix.

Women in the UK are encouraged to have a cervical screening every three years and according to the NHS website, patients should receive their results in two weeks.

However, Deborah isn’t the only person in Huntingdonshire to have been told that they will need to wait up to 90 days.

Emma Knight said: “I am going to be waiting 12 weeks on September 3 for my smear results. Last year, I had an abnormal result leading to a biopsy meaning I had to have another smear this year. I’m very anxious about this year’s results and still nothing.”

Dr Mary Orhewere, screening and immunisation lead for NHS England (East), said: “We are aware that women in Cambridgeshire are currently waiting longer than expected for cervical screening test results. This is part of a national issue affecting screening laboratories across the country.

“The reasons for these delays are a change in the process of cervical screening and staffing issues. We would like to reassure those waiting for results that we are working closely with the screening service providers to free up additional capacity so that tests can be processed more quickly.

“Despite these delays it is important that women continue to take up the opportunity of cervical screening.”