The number of 25 to 64-year-olds to present for a cervical screening increased by 15.5% to 3.5 million people this year compared 3.03 million in 2020-21, new data has shown.
Published by NHS Digital, the dataset indicated that 5.12 million people were invited for screening this year, up by 11.6% on the year before (4.59 million).
And overall 69.9% of eligible individuals between 25 and 64 had last been adequately screened within the required number of years: down only slightly on the previous 70.2%.
However, the data revealed stark regional disparity in coverage, with coverage dropping from 73.8% in the North East to 62.3% in London.
Coverage was also lower in the 25-to-49 age group, decreasing to 67.6%, from 68.0% in 2021. Coverage was higher in the 50 to 64 age group, at 74.6% and only slightly down from 74.7% on the previous year.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) primary screening was fully implemented in December 2019, meaning that a sample is first tested for HPV, to be followed by a cytology screen if the result is positive.
This year saw 235,223 referrals to colposcopy, marking an increase of a third (33.2%) on the previous year’s 176,561 referrals.
In July the Government’s first-ever Women’s Health strategy set out that all new doctors will be required to complete mandatory women’s health training from 2024.
ONS data from this year showed that women born in the poorest areas of England are expected to live nearly two fewer decades in good health compared to those in the most well-off areas.