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Home » Health Professionals » News and resources » Latest news » £80k available to support backlog of cervical screening caused by COVID-19

£80k available to support practices to hold clinics to address the backlog of cervical screening caused by COVID-19

Patients getting smear tests has fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we need practices to hold additional clinics to help reduce the backlog. To support practices to get more patients tested, we are offering a payment £25/hour for each additional clinic held to help pay staff and contribute to additional premises and reception costs. We have at least £80k available to address this backlog and average practice would receive £800 with an average PCN receiving £4,000. Exact amounts to follow. The payment is to facilitate additional clinics to help with the backlog and not for doing smears. 

Approximately 10,000 smears would have been undertaken in C&P CCG during the period COVID-19 had an impact (March – June).  Although 50% of practices have continued doing routine smears, uptake from patients has been very low. Recent data shows 90% of practices are doing some smears. This funding will provide 20 hours of additional clinic time would pay for approximately 40 smears or seven clinics.

These clinics would be based on the number of smears usually undertaken by the practice, rather than on list size.  These clinics would be in addition to the practices normal smear clinics and would run from July to October 2020, with some flexibility to run into next year. We encourage these to be delivered at scale by PCNs /Federations/or through hubs, but practices can also undertake these clinics alone.

Interested practices should contact us ASAP if they are happy to sign up to this, indicating whether they plan to deliver it themselves or within a PCH/Federation. Please email jane.steward1@nhs.net

PPE and labs

We know that the colposcopy services are working and have confirmed their capacity, along with labs having capacity for additional demand. We know smears require appropriate PPE and have assurance this is accounted for with the CCG so that practices are not left choosing between additional smear clinics and core activity.

Hard to reach patients

The CCG has received separate additional funding to encourage hard to reach patients to attend their screening appointments. We will be working with the LMC and other local groups on the most appropriate ways of doing this. 

Reporting and monitoring

The patients seen in these clinics should be overdue their smear or have been actively called. The reporting we require is the number of clinic hours held and number of smears done. They should not be used for routine patients due their smear on their due date.  Practices must continue to hold these clinics. We can monitor smears done weekly and provide practices with some feedback about how they are doing, and also support any practice with a historically low uptake.

We can monitor smears received by the lab against indicative usual smears done on a weekly basis. We can use this data to validate practice returns. The CCG can use this data (where recovery has struggled) to see what other help is needed to support practice/PCNs. This will include disseminating approaches that practices have used to help with this. ​

We plan to measure overall smear performance in April 2021. A measure of success is smears rates being back to COVID-19 levels. We hope next year there will be more money for screening and we can still concentrate on practices and patients with low uptakes in any cancer screening programme, identify the causes and help address them.

More information

Any queries please contact oliver.stovin@nhs.net who has lots of practice and PCN level data which can be shared with individual practices and PCNs.