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Get Screened, get seen – Tackling women’s health inequality by ending the wait


Around 3200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year, with the highest incidence rates for females aged 30-34. We all know by now the best prognoses for cancers come with early detection, but waiting lists in the UK are working against us. All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 are advised to have regular cervical screening.

After a patient attends their cervical screening appointment, results usually come through within 4 weeks (this was often sooner). Jo’s cervical cancer trust have heard from people waiting up to 10 weeks to receive their results in Northern Ireland, parts of England and Scotland.

Two specific areas in Scotland had the worst delays in the UK:

  • Ayrshire and Arran, delays up to 17 weeks
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde, delays of up to 52 weeks

It’s not just cervical screening results that are facing delays, gynaecology services in general are suffering some of the largest waiting lists in the UK.

For gynaecology services in England the latest numbers are from November 2022 and have 544,707 people on the waiting list, and only 55.7% of people being seen within the 18-week target. The list has jumped by over 60% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

On top of this, over-stretched GP surgeries are struggling to meet demand for appointments. These waiting lists feed into a huge problem: the gender health gap. The UK has the largest gender health gap in the G20, and the 12th largest globally, meaning that women are more likely to face greater health risks than men.³

Ending the wait for specific areas medicine of has implications for individual patients, but also for the bigger picture. By working together to end the wait, we can produce better outcomes for patients and address health inequalities like the gender health gap.

Let’s work together to achieve better healthcare for everyone.

  1. Delays to your cervical screening results? Jo’s cervical cancer trust. Available at:
  2. Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times Data 2022-23. NHS England. Available online:
  3. Women’s health outcomes: Is there a gender gap? (2021) House of Lords Library. Available at:

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