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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Figures show better smear testing
Smear test cell
The number of unsatisfactory smears fell from 7% to 2.2%
Improved testing for cervical cancer is resulting in fewer unsatisfactory and low grade smears, according to newly published statistics.

With the widespread use of liquid-based cytology tests in Scotland, the number of unsatisfactory smears fell from 7% to 2.2% in the last quarter of 2003.

NHS National Services Scotland revealed that 429,890 women had smear tests in 2003/2004.

Uptake varied between NHS boards from 82.1% in Glasgow to 91.8% in Orkney.

All women between the ages of 20 and 60 are eligible for a cervical smear test at least once every five years.

In practice, NHS boards invite women for screening every three years.

Of eligible women, 80.6% had been screened for cervical cancer in the previous three-and-a-half-years and 85.5% in the previous five-and-a-half-years.

Sterilising machine
For 2003/2004, 429,890 women in Scotland had smear tests.
These rates are similar to uptake rates in previous years.

The total number of smears processed for the year 2003/2004 ending 31 March 2004 was 429,890, compared with 439,678 in 2002/2003.

NHS Scotland believes the 9,788 fewer smears was the result of the liquid-based technology reducing the need for repeat smears because of unsatisfactory tests.

The average reporting time for laboratories overall was 13 days, compared with 18 days for the quarter ending 31 December 2003.

Information on the uptake of cervical screening is collected from NHS boards annually.

GPs currently receive target payments at two levels for reaching uptake rates of 50% and 80%.


SEE ALSO:
Cervical smears saving thousands
15 Jul 04  |  Health
Hundreds call smear helpline
11 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Smear scare women offered tests
10 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Health fears over smear mix-up
10 Nov 03  |  Scotland


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