Smear Records

My smear records being up to date has potentially saved my life.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, organisations must ensure that any information they hold on you is up-to-date, accurate and relevant.  At times an organisation will need your help to do this. A good example of this is your General Practitioner (GP)/ Local Surgery. Your local surgery must retain patient records for the life of the registered person plus ten years. As a result, these records could exist for some time[1].

However, some people don’t see the benefit of keeping their patient records are up to date. If you are rarely ill, what’s the point in keeping in touch with your GP? Well, what happens if they need to get in contact with you? And besides, why would they need to contact you?

Cervical Cancer Screenings (Smear).

That’s why.

It’s an important subject. This week (22nd-28th January 2017) is Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. It’s also Data Protection Day today (28th January 2017)

The Facts:

  • In the UK 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day
  • 3 women lose their lives to the disease every day
  • Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35
  •  Cervical screening (smear tests) prevents 75% of cervical cancers
  • 1 in 4 women do not attend this potentially life-saving test

The GP needs to have your current address on file. The NHS ‘call and recall’ system will automatically invite you to be screened, as long as you are registered with a GP. This system also keeps track of any follow-up investigations and, if all is well, recalls you for screening at the appropriate time for you. This is usually three or five years depending on your age. Therefore, it is important that you update your GP with any change in circumstances or address.

Across the whole of the UK, women between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screenings. Women who are aged 25–49 are invited every three years while women aged 50–64 are invited every five years. If you are eligible and have not received an invitation to attend cervical screening then you should contact your GP[2].

Getting your smear done can be life-Saving

Just this week I had an operation to remove pre-cancerous cells.  I’ve moved quite a bit in the last year with my career, and I’m very glad that I have updated my medical records. As a result, I was notified when my smear was due. If I hadn’t been notified  I probably would have forgotten to get checked out. The timely reminder probably saved my life.

In conclusion, keep your records up to date!

For more information on cervical screening, go to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Website here:

Men, please remind the women in your life (and don’t forget your own health screenings).

Smear for Smear




[1] Accessed 28th January 2017

[2] Accessed 28th January 2017


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Smear Records can potentially save your life
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