Drop-in smear clinic in Rumworth

Kath Arrowsmith
Chief Nurse

On Thursday 9th September we ran a drop-in smear clinic at Garnett Fold practice in Rumworth. This was a ‘soft’ launch to allow us to trial our IT systems and ensure we had all the necessary equipment. I wanted to carry out the trial in a safe place in case there were any IT issues – if there had been we could have utilised the surgery computer system as a back-up. Thankfully everything worked like clockwork. We had access to Open Exeter and EMIS and TPP, which enabled a thorough check on eligibility for the smear and meant we were able to input directly onto the GP system. We were all set up and ready to go by just after 3pm.

There were only two ladies who attended the clinic during the afternoon, but even this feels like a success for our first day. The first lady should have had her smear repeated in December 2019, following a twelve-month recall, but due to Covid-19 she had not been able to get an appointment at her surgery. She telephoned her surgery to try to book in and was told about the pilot clinic today. She was so happy to have the opportunity to drop into our clinic. She said the fact that she could come along when it suited her was useful. We had time to chat and went over a few concerns she had been having which put her mind at ease before the smear test. She said this was helpful to her.

The second lady who attended had not had a smear test for over 10 years. She informed me that she had been putting it off as she really did not have a great experience at her previous smear appointment. We had a chat about her concerns which allowed her to feel a little more comfortable and confident in the whole process. She said she would not have attended her practice for the appointment as she would have had too much time to think about it and would have either cancelled or just not turned up. She said she was nearby and had seen the flyer on Twitter and just thought “I’ll go!” And so she did. I was so pleased she plucked up the courage and came along to see us that day.

Both ladies were overdue their smear test and would likely have continued to either have problems getting to their GP surgery or just keep on putting it off. On the day of the clinic it felt like we were taking a small but important step to see if this project could work, and if it would be accessed by the women we were aiming to target. The lady who had been putting her smear off for over 10 years was testament to the fact that this is a much-needed service and one which I feel will grow and hopefully develop into a Bolton-wide service and indeed a GM-wide service in time.

I hope we can improve our numbers at the next clinic with a little more advertising leading up to the event. We will look at the results of our survey and use a location which has been suggested by many of the women who have responded.

It is incredibly exciting to have finally got this off the ground and to be able to offer this service to the local community.