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Women in West Midlands facing 10-week delays for smear test results

Thousands of women are thought to be affected by the backlog that built up since Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust took over the service for Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Coventry, Herefordshire and Worcestershire in April 2019.

The trust had transferred laboratory screening services from five existing providers to a newly built facility on the New Cross Hospital site.

The type of screening provided also changed and some of those who had previously provided the tests handed over services earlier than expected, leading to women now facing waits of up to 12-week to receive results.

A woman who waited two months to find out she had pre-cancerous cells, Paris Jones, said it had been "stressful".

A spokesperson for the trust said it was "aware of the impact of the delays".

"The trust is working closely with NHS England and Improvement and is making good progress," they added.

The trust has said it hoped to meet the national target - to return results within two weeks - by the end of February.

There have also been problems nationally with delays in cervical screening results - targets have not been met since 2015.

25 year old midwife Ms Jones had her first smear test in June 2019 and waited "about eight to 10 weeks" for her results, which showed abnormalities. It was then discovered she had pre-cancerous cells at a colposcopy, which were removed in January this year.

Ms Jones said: "Most people think if you haven't heard anything it is normally fine, but I think if you were to wait 12 weeks to then find out something was wrong you would be a bit irritated."

Meanwhile, NHS England have said that local areas are "working hard to minimise any delays to results, which are expected to be back on track shortly."

Helen Budge, Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor, comments:

Delays of up to 10 weeks for the return of smear test results are unacceptable. Not only are women likely to experience worry during this time, but it also increases the risk that any disease may have progressed, potentially resulting in more extensive treatment being required.

Helen is a Senior Solicitor within the Clinical Negligenceteam here at Potter Rees Dolan. If you would like to speak with Helen regarding Clinical Negligence, please call 0800 027 2557 or fill out a contact form on the side of this page. Alternatively, you can contact Helen directly here.