Media focus on failures of screening programmeBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7094.1630 (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1630
- Jane Johnson, consultant histopathologist
- Nottingham City Hospital
Channel 4's recent Dispatches programme on cervical screening focused on one poorly performing laboratory. Dr Jane Johnson says it is important that the whole screening programme is not tarred with the same brush.
The NHS cervical screening programme is the envy of the world. Since the introduction of the central call and recall system and incentive payments for general practitioners in 1989-90, the percentage of women aged 20-64 being screened in England and Wales has increased from 50-60% to over 80%, and the death rate from the disease is falling steadily at about 7% a year. It has been estimated that the screening programme may save up to 7000 women's lives every year.
The number of new cases of invasive cancer being diagnosed has …