More than 2,000 cervical cancer tests from young women in South Essex need re-testing

MORE than 2,000 young women in South Essex have been told they need follow up cervical cancer checks after a number of irregularities were found in their initial screening procedure.

Following concerns raised by Public Health England during its visit to Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Cervical Screening Programme and the Pathology First laboratory, NHS England carried out a comprehensive investigation into the testing procedure.

Of the 2,500 women who had smears taken over the past two years, 31 received a change in their result from normal to abnormal, following a re-examination of those samples.

All affected women have been contacted and appropriate follow-up management has been offered. No-one has received a diagnosis of cervical cancer to date.

Examiners were unable to make an adequate judgement on samples from 95 women, therefore the women are being invited back for a repeat test to obtain a satisfactory sample that will be examined.

As a result of the outcome of this review, PHE Screening Quality Assurance Service made the recommendation that the remaining 2,023 samples from women aged between 25 and 29 should be re-examined.

This is because these women had never been screened before and younger women are at higher risk of having a cervical abnormality.

The incident panel is now implementing this recommendation and any women needing further investigation will be notified and appropriate management arranged.

Any affected women are able to call 01268 524900 ext 3026 for further advice and information.

All women are strongly advised to attend their routine cervical screening appointments as normal when they receive their invitation.

Pam Hall, screening and immunisation lead and incident panel chairwoman for NHS England Midlands and East, said: “We have now contacted all women whose test results may have changed and are contacting those who need to be re-screened offering appropriate follow up, advice and information.

“We are closely monitoring Pathology First to ensure the necessary improvements are made to provide a high-quality service, now and in the future for the women in South Essex.”

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