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Cervical cancer campaign highlights work of cytology labs

A cervical cancer prevention awareness campaign in January highlighted the vital work of the Trust’s cytology laboratory in helping prevent cervical cancer in our region.

Cytology comes under the laboratory medicine directorate and the screening service covers one of the biggest geographical regions in England, receiving samples from all of North Yorkshire, Hull and East Riding and also Northern and North East Lincolnshire. The team processes around 95,000 tests a year, playing a valuable role in the prevention of cervical cancer in the region.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35 with nine women diagnosed with the cancer every day. Three quarters of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening, and January’s campaign emphasised the fact that that screening in England is at a 20 year low.

Trevor Hair, Head Biomedical Scientist for the cytology laboratory, explained: “We’ve seen a steady decrease in the number of cases of cervical cancer throughout the country over the past few years. Unfortunately the number of women attending for cervical screening has dropped off in the last two to three years.

“Cervical cancer is preventable, and if caught at an early stage by screening, can be treated. However, this requires women to go along to their GP to have a simple test.

“The samples are analysed microscopically by the laboratory and any abnormal cells identified – if necessary the laboratory will also analyse for the presence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes 99 percent of all cervical cancers. It’s crucial that people are tested as the biggest cause of cervical cancer comes from women who have failed to attend an appointment and have missed early diagnosis.”

Reasons women don’t attend are wide ranging including embarrassment, fear, not thinking it’s important, not understanding what it’s for and simply putting it off.  It is estimated that if all eligible women attended screening regularly 83 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented.

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Visiting cancelled

Due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus across the UK, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has made the decision to cancel all visiting to all its hospital sites in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

There are three exemptions to the ruling which are for one parent of a sick child under 18, for the partner of a woman giving birth and end of life patients at the discretion of the ward sister.

We would ask people to respect this decision and to treat our staff, who will be enforcing the visiting restrictions, with courtesy and respect.  For more information visit our website.


Outpatient appointments

We know that NHS services will come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and as a Trust we need to redirect staff, free up staff for refresher training and carry out any works as necessary, so we are able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak.  We also need to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals to protect our patients, as well as keeping our staff safe, well and able to come into work.

To do this, with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020, along with other trusts in the Humber Coast and Vale partnerships, we have made the collective decision to suspend all non-urgent routine outpatient appointments for at least three months.  Urgent and emergency cases and cancer appointments will be carrying on as normal.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you for your understanding.  We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried but please not contact the hospital as we will be contacting everyone directly affected in the coming days and weeks.

If you do not receive a letter or a phone call from the hospital, please turn up for your scheduled appointment as normal unless you have symptoms of coronavirus, a cold, flu or norovirus in which case you should contact us to cancel your appointment by clicking here.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days.

Please do not book a GP appointment or attend your GP practice.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.  After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days. The most up-to-date public guidance is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.  Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.