Primary care factors associated with cervical screening coverage in England

J Public Health (Oxf). 2012 Dec;34(4):532-8. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fds019. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Minority Health / trends
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reimbursement, Incentive / statistics & numerical data
  • Reimbursement, Incentive / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vaginal Smears / trends