WOMEN have shared their frustrations at being unable to book a smear test after figures showed thousands in Hampshire have not attended an appointment when invited to do so.

As previously reported, figures from the NHS show that around 29 per cent of those eligible for a cervix screening (smear test) within a three-month period last year did not attend an appointment in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) issued an appeal to urge women and other people with a cervix to come forward and attend their screening appointment.

Read more: Data shows thousands of women in Hampshire not attending smear test appointment 

However, dozens of people commented on the article saying how difficult it is to book a smear test appointment at a Basingstoke GP surgery.

Some have experienced problems with surgeries having no appointments available, while others have struggled to get through on the phone to book.

Eluned Hughes, head of information and engagement at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “While cervical screening is hugely important, the reality of actually booking an appointment can be a long-winded and frustrating task for some women and people with a cervix.”

Read more: Basingstoke mum's cancer warning after missing smear test for six years

Among those who has experienced problems booking a smear test is Emma Riley, who said: “Whenever I’ve tried all I get told is no dates [have] been added to the system yet.”

Natalie Beecham said: “Tried four times last week [and] couldn’t even get through to the doctors.”

Joanne Moore added: “You do get a letter, but you then can’t get through to the GP surgery to book it. Maybe an online booking service for those types of appointment would be the way to go, otherwise more women won’t bother attending.”

Tallia Hughes has also been trying to book an appointment and said: “Got my letter [but] can’t book the appointment. Can’t even get through. So how am I supposed to attend?”

Megan Young had three appointments cancelled during the last couple of years, and said: "One of them [was cancelled] an hour beforehand and I had taken the day off work to attend."


Ms Hughes reassured those having to wait to book a smear test, adding: “We know that many NHS services across the UK are experiencing delays as they catch up from services being halted during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“These delays can cause worry, but it’s important to remember that the majority of cervical cancer cases take a long time to develop.

“So, while a delay of a few weeks or months can be worrying, it’s highly unlikely to cause any changes in your health. However, if you believe you’re experiencing any cervical cancer symptoms, make sure to visit your GP as soon as possible.”

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG has been asked for a comment.


Dr Nicola Decker, clinical leader, Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG, saidL “We understand some people have had appointments for cervical screening postponed, while general practice colleagues helped with the response to the pandemic including the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, or were unable to attend due to isolating.

"We know that there are many reasons people may not attend these vital appointments - including feeling anxious and embarrassed, or difficulties finding a convenient appointment time.

"We would urge everyone eligible to contact their GP practice when they receive their invitation letter and to keep trying if an appointment is not immediately available - new appointments are released regularly and it’s so hugely important you attend.”

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