The NHS will improve its HPV vaccination programme and is urging more women to book screening appointments in light of findings that a third are not contacting their GP when instructed to.
Last week, head of NHS England Amanda Pritchard announced that thanks to improved screening rates and HPV vaccination uptake, there’s hope for cervical cancer to be practically non-existent in the UK by 2040.
It’s thought to be the first time that the health service has held out the possibility of banishing any form of the disease within a set time period, though Pritchard has made clear that the outlined goal depends on far more women attending appointments than are currently doing so.
Under normal circumstances, 1.5 million appointments are skipped annually due to fear, body consciousness, embarrassment, previous negative experiences, or ‘packed schedules.’
‘It is truly momentous to be able to set out such an important, life-saving ambition today,’ she said.
‘To eliminate cervical cancer would be an incredible achievement and through a combination of our HPV vaccination programme and our highly effective cervical screenings, it could become a reality in the next two decades.’
‘As ever, the public can play their part by coming forward for their vaccines and screening appointments when invited – to achieve our goal of eliminating cervical cancer, we need as many people as possible to take up the offer. So please don’t delay – it could save your life.’
Currently there are 9.5 cervical cancer cases per 100,000 women in England – more than double the target rate and a figure that has remained steady for the past decade.
Today, I am at @NHSProviders conference, setting out the new and ambitious target to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040.
The NHS will deliver this target through its dedicated, skilled and compassionate staff. 🧵⬇️ pic.twitter.com/W57muQwUcD
— Amanda Pritchard (@AmandaPritchard) November 15, 2023