CARMARTHENSHIRE Assembly Member Adam Price was supporting Cervical Screening Awareness Week last week to highlight the potential life-saving benefits of cervical screening (smear tests).

Cervical screening prevents up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing and saves an estimated 5,000 lives across the UK every year.

However one in four women do not attend when invited.

During Cervical Screening Awareness Week, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity for women affected by cervical cancer and abnormalities, warned that more needs to be done to make it easier for women to access a screening appointment.

The charity is calling for a greater range of appointment times at GP practices, increased access through sexual health services and innovation including the introduction of self-sampling.

Cervical screening is largely delivered in GP practices with five million women invited every year in the UK.

However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found a worrying one in eight women find it difficult or even impossible to book an appointment. 7.4% of women were told no appointments at their GP practice were available the last time they tried to book.

Adam Price AM said: “I am delighted to be supporting efforts to raise awareness of cervical screening, and the work of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

“It’s extremely concerning that more than one in four women do not attend cervical screening.

“Part of the reason for this is that many women find it hard to get an appointment time that suits them and I support Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s calls for action to tackle this.”

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Adam Price.

“Despite cervical screening protecting against 75% of all cervical cancers, one in four women don’t attend.

“Our research shows that access to cervical screening across the UK is unequal and inconsistent and this needs to change.

“We have a free Helpline women can call if they have any questions about cervical screening, no question is too big or small.

“We would like all women to feel they can make an informed decision in attending this potentially life-saving test.”