Fewer women aged between 25 and 29 are receiving cervical screening, statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have shown.
A new report released by the NHS body shows the proportion of women screened (known as ‘coverage’) fell in every five year age group between 25 and 49 years from March 2012 to March 2013, but the largest percentage point decrease was among 35 to 39 year olds, where coverage dropped by 2.4 percentage points to 73.7%.
HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning, said: “This report provides vital information for clinicians and planners on how many women are being screened under this important programme.
“While we cannot tell how many abnormalities might be being missed among those women not taking up the invitation for screening, it is concerning to see the fall in coverage among the younger women."
Women between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for regular cervical screening under the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. This is intended to detect abnormalities within the cervix that could, if undetected and untreated, develop into cervical cancer.
Women are invited for screening at different intervals depending on their age and coverage is calculated according to different timeframes for different age groups.