"I was refused a smear test"

About: Hull Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

I went to Chanterlands GP surgery for a smear test in March. I had been having some spotting so thought I would have a check. But because I was nine months early before my next test (the letter stated January 2010) they said I couldn’t have one. Why didn’t the receptionist ask for my letter to check the date? Why can I not have a smear test when I am concerned about my health? What options are left for me; to go private? The GP said I was in a low risk group as the last three tests were fine. I am in my 50’s, in the low risk group and it has not been five years since my last test so I am told I am not allowed to be tested. Even if I did the smear test it would get refused. It seems it all has to do with costs. Everybody should have the option for a test when you need to, especially when you feel alarmed about your health.

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Responses

Response from Engagement Section Assistant, NHS Hull

Dear Tapir587, We acknowledge receipt of your concerns about the refusal of your GP practice to undertake a smear test for you. We are so sorry that you have had a less than positive experience and we have now begun an investigation to look into the matter further. If you would like to discuss this further or provide us with some more information please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service on 01482 335409 or email. Otherwise, we will provide feedback from our investigations via the Patient Opinion website once the facts have been established. NHS Hull is the organisation responsible for deciding how money is spent on local health services [also known as commissioning], ensuring those services are of high quality and meet local needs. Therefore all feedback is important to us.
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Response from Engagement Section Assistant, NHS Hull

Dear Tapir587 We have now looked into the concerns you raised about your GP’s refusal to send you for a smear test, nine months before it was due. We do appreciate how worried you are because of the symptoms which have occurred. We have responded to the points as they appear in your posting: The national screening guidance is used for calling up/recalling ladies for smear tests and states that this should be done every three years for women under 50 years of age and every five years for women aged 50-64 years. The GP surgery does not organise the recall system – this is undertaken centrally. The GP practice is informed of patients who do not attend for screening and receive a copy of the results. Without your consent to contact the practice we are unable to tell you why the receptionist didn’t ask for your letter to check the date. Most important of all, if you are alarmed about your health, we strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see the GP again, and take with you a list of all the symptoms which are giving you cause for concern. The doctor will then make a clinical decision based on all the information (including your past smear test results, the symptoms, etc) and we would hope they would discuss this with you, as well as the options available to you. These options could include tests or a referral into the community gynaecology system. Alternatively, you can refer yourself into the community gynaecology service – the telephone number is 01482 336332. The staff member would discuss your concerns with you, discuss what the service is able to provide and make the appointment with you. This number is the main contact line for the service and may be busy – please do persevere. We would reiterate that if you would like to discuss this further (in complete confidence and, if you wish, on an anonymous basis) please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service on 01482 335409 or by email. Thank you once again for taking the time to provide us with your views on our services.
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