Team dedication gets results for patients

Patients across Staffordshire, East Cheshire and Shropshire are receiving cervical screening results within just 10 days thanks to the exemplary work of UHNM's Cytology team. The usual wait is up to 12 weeks. The team at UHNM have been working extra hard to manage a sharp increase in the number of women undergoing screening, working longer hours, giving up annual leave and spending weekends supporting the service.

Sarah Fish, Lead Biomedical Scientist, said: "The achievement of the 14-day turnaround time for results is especially noteworthy considering we have experienced an increase in the number of patients attending screening appointments. The increase came at a really busy time as everyone was gearing up for the festivities – but of course, we're very glad that more patients are taking up the screening.  We think the spike last year was probably due to the Coronation Street storyline which featured a character with cervical cancer. Team members cancelled annual leave, worked long days and even came in on weekends - all at a time when they really should have been out shopping! All the staff on the team have one main focus - the patient. Providing a quick turnaround time for results reduces anxiety for patients and also enables quick referral to Colposcopy for those who need treatment."

Cervical cancer awareness is back on the radar for many people this year, as January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and March marks 10 years since the death of TV star Jade Goody, who died from the disease. Staff have been given the Team of the Month award in recognition of their dedication.

Helen Ashley, Director of Strategy and Performance, said: "We really thank the team for their commitment to the service and for going the extra mile over the very busy holiday period. It's easy to forget the importance of the work of services that aren't delivering direct patient care, but this demonstrates the enormous difference their work ethic and determination can make."