Cervical screening coverage for women aged 25-64 has dropped for the second consecutive year, falling from 73.5% in 2015 and 75.7 % in 2014 to 72.73% this year, new figures have revealed.
The figures, released by NHS Digital, show coverage was lowest among women aged 25-49 years – falling from 71.2% in 2015 to 70.2% at 31 March 2016.
Among women aged 50-64 years, coverage was 78% this year, compared to 78.4% last year.
At a regional level, coverage of the full target group (25-64 years) ranged from 66.7% in London to 75.9% in the East Midlands.
NHS Cervical Screening Programme in England in 2015-16 includes statistics on: women aged 25 to 64 who are invited for regular screening; screening samples examined by pathology laboratories and referrals to colposcopy clinics. The report is used to inform policy and to monitor the quality and effectiveness of screening services.
The 2015-16 report also shows that:
- 4.21 million women aged 25-64 were invited for screening in 2015-16. This was a decrease of 2.4% from 2014-15, when 4.31 million women were invited
- The number of women tested in the 25-49 age group in 2015-16 was 2.34 million, a fall of 2.5% from 2014-15. However, the number of women tested in the 50-64 age group, in 2015-16, was 0.74 million, representing a rise of 4.1% from 2014-15
- Cervical screening departments are expected to ensure that at least 98% of result letters are received by post within two weeks of the test. In 2015-16, 89.1% of letters sent to women tested were reported to have an expected delivery date of within two weeks of the sample being taken. In 2014-15, this measure was 91%
- The percentage of results showing a high-grade abnormality decreased with age. It was highest at 3.1% for women aged 25-29, falling to less than 0.5% for women aged 50 to 64.
Read the full report at: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/pubs/cervical1516