Background: The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme was established to decrease the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in England.
Methods: To identify socioeconomic and general practice factors associated with cervical screening coverage in England, a national cross-sectional study was conducted using data on 26 497 476 female patients registered with 7970 practices in 152 English primary care trusts (PCTs). The 2008-09 data on cervical screening coverage rates from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF) database were used with data on QOF indicators, staffing levels and socioeconomic status.
Results: The mean cervical screening coverage rate was 78.5% at the PCT level and 83.5% at the practice level. At both levels, cervical screening coverage was significantly negatively associated with the index of multiple deprivation score, percentage of female patients aged 25-49 years and percentage of ethnic minority patients. Also, at the practice level, the percentage of female patients aged 50-64 years, overall QOF score and records and information score were significantly positively associated with cervical screening coverage.
Conclusions: Cervical screening coverage was significantly lower in PCTs and practices serving higher percentages of younger-aged women, non-Caucasian individuals and those living in socioeconomic deprivation. It is therefore important to adopt strategies to improve cervical screening coverage in these groups.