Free ‘pop-up’ cervical smear clinics proving popular with priority Auckland women

Offering free, no appointment cervical screening at venues and times that suit priority women has struck a chord.
Offering free, no appointment cervical screening at venues and times that suit priority women has struck a chord.
The Metro Auckland Cervical Screening Coordination Service has been working with local primary health organisations (PHOs) and GP clinics to deliver a number of nurse-led, free ‘pop-up’ Saturday cervical screening clinics over the last six months.

A total of 189 women have been screened at Saturday clinics in Mt Roskill, Papatoetoe, Henderson and Otara. All those screened met the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) priority women criteria, and nearly half had never had a smear.

Jane Grant, Regional Cervical Screening Nurse Specialist, says while it’s still early days, it’s clear that offering a free, no appointment cervical screening service at venues and times that suit priority women has struck a chord.

‘The overall feedback from women has been very positive. Being able to access screening services without an appointment while they are out and about on a Saturday has been much easier for them. We have been pleasantly surprised at how many women have taken up the offer of a cervical smear through this initiative, especially the number of women who have never had a smear.’

Jane says key to the success is local GP clinics sending tailored invitations about the pop-up clinics and follow-up reminder texts to the priority women registered with them. A health promoter also publicises the clinics and, on the day, approaches women in nearby shopping centres and markets with invitations to attend. Local businesses also support the clinics by displaying posters. The women’s partners and other family members are also welcome.

On the day, the host clinic provides rooms in their premises – usually next to or within a shopping centre – the equipment, smear taker nurses and a receptionist. The Metro Auckland Cervical Screening Coordination Service promotes the clinic and provides funding for a smear taker for non-enrolled women. The host clinic’s PHO provides funding for free smears for enrolled women and any other support needed.

The risk of over screening is minimised as women are invited based on their screening records at the practice.

When results are received, each woman is contacted and her result explained, along with the date her next smear is due.

Information about alternative smear-taking services is provided for those women who come to the clinics but are not due for a smear or are not ready to have one.

A number of women eligible for mammography have also been invited to enrol in BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) and given BSA-provided gift packs.

Jane Grant says there are challenges in getting cervical screening into communities, but working with primary care in this way helps ensure screening is more accessible to priority women.

‘It’s also about empowering nurses to work collaboratively, and the clinics are very enjoyable to work at.’

More collaborative pop-up clinics are planned and some PHOs are organising Saturday clinics of their own. ‘We’re thrilled about this innovation, and it’s great to see initiatives to make screening easier for women,’ says Jane.

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Page last updated: 31 August 2015