By Kate Pickles Health Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 00:01 GMT, 1 February 2019 | Updated: 08:11 GMT, 1 February 2019
A backlog of 100,000 cervical screening tests has been uncovered – just as a Government campaign is urging women to get the life-saving checks.
Just a third of patients received their test results within the recommended two weeks at times last year, investigations by the National Audit Office found.
Changes to testing arrangements have been blamed for the delays, which have left some waiting an agonising four months for results.
The findings are the latest in a string of embarrassments for the NHS screening programmes following blunders which meant hundreds of thousands were not invited for breast or cervical screening.
The National Audit Office has discovered a backlog of 100,000 cervical screening test results that have not been received with some women waiting up to four months (file picture)
They come amid alarm that the uptake of the screening programme has fallen to an all-time low, a trend blamed on ‘body image’ embarrassment – concerns which have prompted a new awareness campaign by Public Health England.
The report found none of the programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancers met the national coverage targets for how many people should be screened last year.
NHS England said the rollout of new tests for human papilloma virus, which causes 95 per cent of cervical cancer cases, was largely responsible for the backlog – which peaked at more than 150,000 patients waiting in March last year and still stood at 98,000 in November.
The changes, which mean women will now be tested for HPV before receiving a smear test, require new equipment and laboratory set-ups.
1. Ask how long you should wait for results: To put your mind at ease ask your surgery how long the current wait is in your area when you have your test.
2. Visit your GP: Waiting for results can make you even more anxious if you think you might have symptoms. If this is you, visit your GP