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16 June 2017: GPs and health organisations will be able to improve cervical screening rates thanks to an innovative new online data tool.
It is hoped that the interactive dashboard will help identify areas where screening levels could be improved and encourage work to boost coverage.
The dashboard will provide more detailed and timely information about cervical screening and will help Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), GP practices and local authorities to improve coverage rates for the potentially lifesaving test, which are currently falling.
NHS Digital, Public Health England (PHE) and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust have collaborated on the initiative, which aims to provide easier access to the latest data about cervical screening3. This is part of a PHE-led project to empower GP practices and CCGs to improve cervical screening attendance and coverage rates.
Cervical screening coverage in England has decreased for the second consecutive year, most recent annual figures, previously published by NHS Digital, show4.
The dashboard, which is being unveiled during Cervical Screening Awareness Week, includes data by local authority, and - for the first time - CCG and GP practice. It will be updated on a quarterly basis.
Pritpal Rayat, Analytical Section Head and Responsible Statistician for Screening and Immunisations at NHS Digital, said: "The new dashboard will make more timely information available about this important area in greater detail than ever before.
"Users will be able to access the data in a range of visually dynamic ways, such as interactive maps and charts, as well as data tables5.
"We hope this useful online resource will help support and empower GP practices, local authorities and CCGs to improve cervical screening attendance and coverage, thus ensuring more of those at risk of cervical cancer are diagnosed as early as possible.
"The development of this dashboard is a great example of good practice in collaborative working on a high-profile, sensitive area between organisations with a shared interest - NHS Digital, Public Health England and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust."
PHE has created a resource, to be hosted on the GOV.UK website6, which will contain data and background information on coverage and will link to both the NHS Digital and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust sites.
Ruth Stubbs, National Cervical Screening Programme Manager at Public Health England, said: "The NHS Cervical Screening Programme is keen to ensure that all women who want to be screened, can be.
"That is why having access to the coverage information on the dashboard and our new resource will provide invaluable, timely data for GPs, CCGs and local authorities to continue to support those regions where participation levels could be improved."
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, which has supported the development of the dashboard, also welcomed the initiative.
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer however attendance of this potentially life-saving test is falling.
"GP practices and commissioners have a vital role to play in encouraging attendance and the new dashboard provides them with a valuable resource to benchmark their own performance, look to higher performing areas for inspiration and fully evaluate the success of activities they have undertaken.
"We are proud to have worked with NHS Digital and Public Health England on the creation of the dashboard and hope it provides both the insight and the motivation needed for practices to consider how they can increase attendance in their area.
"Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has a wealth of insight into the reasons women don't attend cervical screening and I would like to encourage practices looking for support or inspiration to get in touch with the charity as we can offer advice and insight to improving their uptake7.
"If attendance continues to fall we are going to see increased diagnoses and deaths across the country and this simply cannot and should not happen."
The interactive dashboard can be accessed within the latest statistical data release from NHS Digital, Cervical Screening Programme - Coverage Statistics, which has been published today.