Women in London will benefit from a new text messaging service for cervical cancer screening that could potentially be life-saving.
While regular screening has been shown to improve the chances of detecting cervical cancer early, which increases the probability of successful treatment, opportunities for screening are being missed simply because women are forgetting to schedule an appointment.
Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of text messages in promoting attendance of screening appointments, with one study showing a 4% increase in uptake when text message reminders were used.
In light of this, Public Health England (PHE) and the National Health Service England (NHSE) have commissioned a text reminder service across all the London boroughs, delivered by iPLATO Healthcare.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Regional Director of PHE London said:
“We know that cervical screening reduces cancer deaths, so it is important to utilise technology in order to reach the maximum number of people. This new reminder service is a welcome step towards increasing uptake in London. We are committed to improving cervical screening attendance, particularly among younger women, and we hope the text message service will encourage women across the capital to make and keep these vital appointments.”
Cancer Screening Lead for NHS England (London) Dr Josephine Ruwende said:
“95 per cent of people in the UK have mobile phones, so it makes sense to use this technology to send women reminders via text. This technology could lead to an additional 25,000 women in London participating in screening in the next 12 months, which will lead to earlier detection and more lives being saved.”
The service will be deployed across all 32 CCGs in London and will be rolled out next month.