Raising awareness of cervical screening

22 Apr 2024

Three general practice nurse advisers from South East London ICS  visited Lewisham Shopping Centre to talk to local people about the importance of cervical screening  and HPV vaccination  on Saturday 9 March 2024 for International Women’s Day and Mothers’ Day.

This was to help address the low rates of cervical screening among Lewisham patients, particularly people from Asian communities and people with learning disabilities

General practice nurse advisers, Jane Dolega-Ossowski, Anne-Marie Brennan, Sarah Bligh spoke to 30 women at the stand and around the  shopping centre during the afternoon. They also  spoke to a few interested men provided some leaflets on bowel screening as well as discussing PSA testing.

Sarah Bligh: “We had some great conversations with people including two influencers with a large following of young women. They will be encouraging and promoting screening on their various platforms.

“We also met a woman in her mid thirties who didn’t know what a smear was and hadn’t been invited for one! Another lady hadn’t had a sample for 20 years due to a bad experience.

“We were very impressed with Anne-Marie when she spoke with some young women from Ecuador in Spanish! An outreach worker took a lot of leaflets for the young women she works with.

“Several young women hadn’t had HPV vaccination yet and received information about it. Many others came up to see ‘the equipment’ and were reassured by the plastic speculums and soft Cervex brooms we use. There are still a lot of myths about hard sticks and metal speculums circulating so it was good to refute some of those. We hope many more people were reminded to make an appointment as we raised the profile and the importance of having your test.”

For more information about cervical screening women can make an appointment with their appointment Practice Nurse via their GP practice or contact Jo’s trust or NHS cervical screening.