Response to cervical cancer screenings in Scotland

RCGP Scotland Joint Chair Dr David Shackles said the following:

“We are extremely sorry to hear about the tragic death of a woman who has died from cervical cancer; we have her family in our thoughts and send our deepest condolences during this difficult time.

“We also understand that this announcement will be distressing for those affected. However, we would like to reassure members of the public that all patients who may have been impacted by this have been identified and proactively contacted by NHS Boards.

“GPs and our teams have been operating the cervical smear programme throughout the pandemic, with only a brief pause during the first lockdown.

“As a profession, we are committed to ensuring that cervical smears are carried out as efficiently as possible for those who are eligible. To ensure that we can do this, we depend on the transfer of information from across the health service to ensure patient information is up-to-date and correct.

“If there are issues with data coding or communication between primary and secondary care, we are keen to understand and address this. We are determined to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

“Unfortunately, incidents such as this highlight the need for improved digital systems and communication across the entire healthcare system which will increase efficiency and reduce the likelihood of errors.

“We understand that those GP practices which have patients affected by this incident have been contacted and provided with the relevant information that they require to support their patients and ensure that they can access a smear at the earliest opportunity. We would urge those patients who have been asked to contact their GP practice to arrange a test, to do so at the earliest opportunity.

“Most importantly, we would like to encourage women to continue to come forward for cervical screenings. GPs are always here to listen to any concerns our patients may have.”

Further information

(For media only)

Media requests to Lisa Boyle, Communications Officer.

Telephone: 07388 388 260

Email: lisa.boyle

Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.