Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Cervical Cancer Screening goes invite only

August 1st, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

From September 1st next the National Cervical Screening Programme, Cervical Check, will become invite only. This means women who wish to obtain a cervical smear test will not be able to avail of the service unless they are over 60 and have never had a smear test or have undergone coloscopy treatment and are requiring follow-up smears.

The move to a Population-based screening programme means that women will receive an invitation to go for a smear test and then be recalled on a cyclical basis. (every 3 or 5 years depending on their age).

For the first year of the programme women have been able to go for smear tests without invitation – the NCSP say that this open access was to cope with initial interest and now it is time to go invite only. How accurate is the NCSP’s list of women in in Ireland, where they live and how they are going to make sure they get the invites out?

Women who have not had a smear test in the previous three years and are between the age of 25 and 60 can opt in and apply via the website ,, by completing and returning a registration form by free post or by calling CervicalCheck on 1800 45 45 55. I don’t know how much publicity will be be given to this opt-in facilty.

While inviting women to take part (and accompanying publicity campaigns about taking up those invites presumably!) should be welcomed I do tend to agree with the Well Woman Centre and some GP’s who say that this move may discourage women who are at risk or who are concerned and who may feel they cannot access free testing because they are not invited – a new barrier?. Any thoughts?

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