Thousands of childminders giving mothers free childcare while for cervical cancer screening
- Childminders offering free childcare to mothers to attend cervical cancer tests
- NHS data reveals 1/3 of eligible women in England not up to date on screenings
Thousands of childminders are offering free childcare to mothers while they attend their cervical cancer screening appointments.
Half of all cervical cancers develop in women who miss the smear tests – and the most common reason given is being too busy due to either work or childcare commitments.
Now the initiative, through nannies listed on the website childcare.co.uk, comes months after NHS data revealed that a third of eligible women in England are not up to date with their cervical screening appointments or have never even had one – the highest number in a decade.
Cervical cancer is slow-growing and almost always curable if it is caught early. Deaths have decreased a third over the past 20 years thanks to better tests used in screening and widespread vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) – the sexually transmitted condition that causes about 99 per cent of all cervical cancers.
However, some 850 women still die of the disease every year – most of which would have been preventable if spotted earlier.
Half of all cervical cancers develop in women who miss the smear tests – and the most common reason given is being too busy due to either work or childcare commitments (file photo)
Thousands of childminders are offering free childcare to mothers while they attend their cervical cancer screening appointments (file photo)
Richard Conway, chief executive of childcare.co.uk, says: ‘Five-thousand providers have generously offered to provide free childcare for mums when they go for a smear test. Thousands of deaths could be prevented if more women chose to be tested more frequently. We encourage mums who haven’t had a smear test in the last three years to make an appointment with their GP and to use the free childcare service.’
The checks are offered to women aged between 25 and 49 every three years, and every five years from ages 50 to 64.
In 2019 reports surfaced of a few childminders offering the smear test initiative, but experts said at the time that the trend wasn’t reaching enough women.
Kate Sanger, head of policy at the cervical cancer charity Jo’s Trust, says: ‘I’ve heard the odd nursery or childminder doing this over the years, but it wasn’t on a wider scale.
‘Childcare can be a struggle for women attending cervical screening. It’s difficult to relax when kids are running around in the clinic or appointments clash with the school run. There can be work commitments on top of that.
‘It’s great to see the initiative expanding – it has the potential to make a real, life-saving difference.’
Two million parents connect with a million nannies listed on childcare.co.uk, one of the UK’s largest websites for childminders and babysitters. Some 66 providers offer the free smear-test childcare in London alone.
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