Cervical cancer screening push targets young women

The NHS Cancer Screening Programme is to target women in their twenties as part of a fresh promotional push later this year.

The move comes after latest figures revealed a small but alarming drop in the number of women in this age group taking up direct mail invitations for cervical cancer screening.

The campaign will be handled by Citigate Communications, which this week was named as the body’s retained agency for the next three years. The agency had already held the account for four years and was re-appointed following a pitch process that got underway at the start of the year (PRWeek, 10 January).

Executive director Kate Cutler, who heads the account team, said: ‘There is a concern that there’s such a gap between the number of invitations and the number of acceptances in this age group.’

Cutler said a similar emphasis will also launch later this year aimed at the younger end of the key 50 to 70 target age group for breast cancer screening.

She added that research work is about to start, including interviewing women about their views on screening.

The Citigate team reports to the body’s national co-ordinator Julietta Patnick, who said she was disappointed with the quality of around half the expressions of initial interest sent by PR firms.

She said too many firms merely supplied short details of their accounts and desire to handle the account, and not enough detail of ideas for actually helping to promote cancer screening.

Meanwhile, Citigate Communications has this week also been appointed by the newly created Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection to handle its press office.

The body exists in shadow form and comes into being in April next year, taking over the work of a number of health watchdogs, including the Commission for Health Improvement and the Mental Health Act Commission.

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