TRAFFORD Council and Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have achieved a High Commendation for their work to increase the number of women attending potentially life-saving cervical screening (smear tests).

Their joint ‘One Minute’ campaign has been awarded the prize by charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in their annual Cervical Screening Awards which recognise excellence and innovation across the UK.

Cervical screening can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing however 1 in 4 women do not attend the test when invited, significantly increasing their risk of developing a disease which claims two lives every day.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer, created the awards in 2010 to acknowledge organisations working to reverse this trend and inspire others.

The Trafford team devised their One Minute campaign to increase awareness of cervical screening among groups where attendance was particularly low, this included women from black, asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and those living in areas of deprivation. The judging panel commented that the project “demonstrated good understanding of local differences in population screening”; commended the multi-partner approach and full GP practice engagement across the borough and called the evaluation “impressive”.

The targeted campaign included initiatives such as practices individually calling women who were overdue cervical screening to explain the importance of the test; intervention packages and a workshop for GPs and practice nurses providing clinical information and tips for improving attendance, as well as providing an opportunity to increase understanding about the impact wider social issues such as domestic abuse can have on uptake.

Additionally, information resources were made available in multiple languages to ensure women were receiving information in a format they could understand and educational events in the community were organised to educate women about the role of the cervical screening in preventing cervical cancer and address any concerns or questions they might have about attending.

Helen Gollins, consultant in Public Health for Trafford Council, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to be recognised by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust for the work we did to help and encourage Trafford women to take their smear tests. To know we made a real difference to local people, particularly those women with previously low smear test uptake, is very rewarding. We encourage all women to attend their smear test appointments when invited.”

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “Trafford impressed us with their One Minute Campaign and the judging panel strongly felt that it deserved a High Commendation. Their campaign clearly demonstrates the significant and far reaching impact local authorities and NHS bodies can have when working together and I hope it inspires others to do the same. Cervical screening uptake is worryingly at a 19 year low in England and local initiatives are vital to reversing this trend. If we don’t then we are only going to see more women diagnosed and potentially losing their lives, from what is a largely preventable disease. I would like to personally congratulate the multi-partner Trafford team for their commitment and hard work to increase cervical screening uptake.”

The overall winner of the 2016 Cervical Screening Award was St Mary’s surgery in Southampton for its IN THE PINK! campaign targeting patients who were overdue their cervical screening.