Cervical Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Paul Williams Paul Williams Labour, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many CCGs (a) achieved and (b) did not achieve the turnaround target of 98 per cent of patients receiving their cervical screening results within 14 days of having a test in the last month for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Data is reported by local authority and published annually by NHS England, with the most recent information available at the following link:


However, data by clinical commissioning group (CCG) was published by the National Audit Office (NAO) Investigation into the Management of Health Screening and is available at the following link:


The data published by the NAO shows the target for delivering cervical screening results letters within 14 days was not met in 189 out of 207 CCGs in 2017-18.

The 2016 announcement of the planned introduction of human papillomavirus primary screening and planned reconfiguration of laboratories has impacted on cytology workforce retention and recruitment rates. This led to an increase in the turnaround times of cervical screening samples in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

NHS England is taking steps to make sure the delivery, performance and oversight of screening services meet the high standard NHS patients rightly expect. This includes moving samples around the country to reduce the burden on those laboratories most under pressure. Professor Sir Mike Richards has also been commissioned to undertake a major review of cancer screening as part the NHS Long Term Plan’s renewed drive to improve care and save lives.

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