Cervical Screening: The North West Research

The final summary and academic report from The Lesbian & Gay Foundation's (LGF) Are You Ready for Your Screen Test? campaign, about the attitudes, experiences and uptake of cervical screening in the lesbian, gay and bisexual women's community of the North West, were made available in July 2011.

The findings are a result of a twelve month project (incorporating a nine month awareness raising campaign) - funded by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme, and in partnership with the University of Salford.

During the project, the research team spoke to almost 1000 lesbian and bisexual women living in the North West, across two surveys which were carried out both before and after the awareness raising campaign.

Key Findings:

  • In survey 1 just 49% of respondents of an eligible age (25-64) had been for a cervical screening test within NHS recommended time scales (within 3 years for women aged 25-49, and within 5 years for women aged 50-64). In the post campaign survey this figure stood at 73%.
  • Survey 1 also showed 70.5% of respondents of an eligible age had been screened within the past 5 years. In survey 2, this figure stood at 79%, which is in line with NHS data for the general population.
  • 51% of women at an eligible screening age reported some form of positive behaviour change as a result of the campaign.
  • 96% felt that the campaign was effective.
  • 93% of participants think more needs to be done to train health professionals in the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) women relating to cervical screening.

Annie Emery, Programme Manager at The LGF comments, "The findings of the report highlight the overwhelming need for, and benefit of targeted campaigns like Are You Ready For Your Screen Test? on a wider geographical scale, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women get appropriate information about their health and the services available to them.

"Cervical screening awareness is a key priority at the LGF, and we will now be pushing forward with the report's recommendations, including encouraging LGB specific training for health professionals, sexual orientation monitoring, developing partnership work, and more targeted, appropriate and accurate information for lesbian and bisexual women."

Download the summary report | Download the academic report