Mums are being offered free childcare so they won’t miss their smear test

Figures have shown that screening rates across all ages for attending their smear tests are at the lowest they’ve ever been for two decades.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 15:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 15:30 pm
Busy mothers can avoid their smear tests, citing issues with childcare (Photo: Shutterstock)

In a survey conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (the UK’s only charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical cancer), the numbers reflect a worrying trend of women not attending their smear tests for a variety of reasons.

Childcare.co.uk is looking to tackle one of the common reasons women don’t attend their screening.

A solution?

Childcare.co.uk has launched a nationwide initiative to try and increase the numbers of women attending their cervical screening appointments.

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In order to do this, the childcare platform is offering mothers an hour of childcare free of charge to allow them to attend their smear test.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk, said: “There’s been a lot in the media about a fall in women not attending smear tests for various reasons, and I suspect a main one for mother is not finding the time around their children.”

Last month there were reports of individual child carers in some areas of the UK offering an hour of childcare to allow mothers time to attend their appointment, something which Childcare.co.uk was inspired by.

Rolling out the offer across the UK, Childcare.co.uk wanted to ensure that all mothers would have a chance to have their smear test.

While the actual test usually only takes five minutes, Childcare.co.uk providers are offering an hour of childcare to allow for things such as travelling to and from the surgery, and also to accommodate waiting times.

How do I get this offer?

Mums can take Childcare.co.uk up on their offer by booking a childcare professional on the website.

They can search for providers taking part in the initiative through the website.

Why aren’t women getting their smear tests?

Research found by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that the common reasons women avoid their smear test are

Feeling scared (71%)

Feeling vulnerable (75%)

Being embarrassed (81%)

Another surprising reason that women skip their cervical screening is because of childcare issues.

Computer Says No, a report compiled by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, detailed the experience a of woman being unable to make or attend appointments due to childcare difficulties.

“I had my first child and put it off, then I had a day job and found it difficult to get childcare,” one mother told the report.

Why do you need a smear test?

Each year, more than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK, with near 900 dying from the illness annually.

According to the NHS website, the test is actually checking the health of your cervix. It’s not a test to see if you have cancer, it’s a test designed to help prevent cancer.

A cervical screening can check for abnormal cell changes in your cervix which, if left untreated, could turn into cancer.

The screening can also check for HPV, as some forms of HPV can lead to call changes in your cervix, as well as cancer.

According to Cancer Research, 99.8 per cent of cervical cancer cases are preventable.