Basingstoke women complain about struggle to book swab test

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WOMEN have shared their frustration at not being able to book a swab test after figures showed thousands in Hampshire failed to attend an appointment when invited to do so.

As previously reported, figures from the NHS show that around 29 per cent of those eligible for a cervical screening (swab test) within a three month period in the past year did not attend an appointment in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to have.

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have issued an appeal to urge women and other people with a cervix to come forward and attend their screening appointment.

Read more: Data shows thousands of women in Hampshire are not taking a swab test

However, dozens of people commented on the article, saying how difficult it was to book an appointment for a swab test at a Basingstoke GP practice.

Some have had trouble with surgeries where appointments are not available, while others have struggled to get through by phone to make an appointment.

Eluned Hughes, director of information and engagement at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “While cervical cancer screening is hugely important, for some women and people with a cervix, actually booking an appointment can be a tedious and frustrating task.”

Read more: Basingstoke mum’s cancer warning after six years without swab

Among those who have had trouble booking a swab is Emma Riley, who said: “Every time I’ve tried I’ve just been told there’s no dating [have] have not yet been added to the system.”

Natalie Beecham said: “Tried four times last week [and] couldn’t even get through to the doctors.”

Joanne Moore added: “You get a letter but then you can’t get through to the GP’s office to book it. Maybe an online booking service for these kinds of appointments would be the way to go, otherwise more women won’t come.”

Tallia Hughes has also attempted to make an appointment, saying: “I got my letter [but] cannot book the appointment. Can’t get through. So how am I supposed to participate?”

Megan Young had canceled three dates in recent years, saying: “One of them [was cancelled] an hour earlier and I had taken the day off to attend.”

Reassuring those who had to wait to book a swab, Ms Hughes added: “We know many NHS services across the UK are experiencing delays as they catch up on services suspended during the Covid-19 lockdown .

“These delays can be worrying, but it’s important to remember that most cases of cervical cancer take a long time to develop.

“While a delay of a few weeks or months can be worrying, it is highly unlikely to produce any changes in your health. However, if you think you have symptoms of cervical cancer, you should see your GP as soon as possible.”

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG have been contacted for comment.

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