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‘Jade Goody effect’ increases waiting times for cervical cancer screening results

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Women in some parts of the UK are waiting up to eight weeks for cervical cancer screening results after the ‘Jade Goody effect’ led to a substantial increase in demand for tests.

Reality TV star Jade Goody’s public battle with the disease has resulted in a surge in demand for cervical screening, meaning waiting times for test results have quadrupled from two to eight weeks at some PCTs in England.

A spokesperson for NHS Birmingham East and North said that due to demand for the tests ‘doubling’, processing time has risen from three to four weeks in October to December last year, to around six to eight weeks at present.

And a spokesperson for NHS West Essex, which covers Upshire where Jade Goody lived, said that the turnaround time for results has increased due to the laboratory trying to cope with ‘double the extra work.’

Laboratory staff are working overtime in parts of the country to meet the Department of Health’s ‘expected standard’ that women should receive test results within six weeks.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: ‘We are aware that, due to the increased demand on cervical screening services due to the recent media attention, some laboratories are experiencing back logs, but these are being dealt with at a local level.’

In England, women aged 25 to 49 are invited to cervical screenings every three years, and those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

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