Everton Highlights Importance Of Cervical Screening

Everton Football Club has joined forces with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust during Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month to ensure women and people with a cervix who work for the Club can attend cervical screening.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity, cautions that inability to get appointments around work is causing many to delay potentially lifesaving screening.

Their ‘Time to Test’ campaign calls on employers to play their part in raising the profile of cervical screening and cervical cancer in the workplace, and empower their team to look after their cervical health.

The charity’s new research found that only one in five full-time workers were able to get a convenient cervical screening appointment last time they tried to book. Sadly, many workers reported using annual leave, sick leave or even unpaid leave to attend appointments, with 10% saying they had used annual leave more than once to attend cervical screening. The charity warns this will result in many delaying or skipping the vital appointment.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is concerned that COVID-19 has exacerbated low attendance. In 2018, the charity found one in 10 were only offered appointments they could not make. Now, 38% say they were unable to get a convenient appointment last time they tried to book.

In Liverpool, cervical screening attendance is just 67% with one in three women and people with a cervix not attending when invited. Everton aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer through Time to Test and highlight the importance of cervical screening with their employees. The campaign asks employers to ensure their staff can attend cervical screening in a way that is convenient for them if they can’t get appointments outside working time.

Director of People, Culture and Workplace Wellbeing at Everton, Kim Healey, said:

“Our employees’ health and wellbeing is always at the forefront of our minds, and we hope by signing up to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s Time to Test pledge they will continue to feel fully supported by their work family. In turn, we hope we can help to reduce any stigma around medical appointments and encourage those who are eligible to book their cervical screening to do so.”

"The Time to Test campaign also encourages employers to raise awareness of cervical screening at work, after 62% said that an increase in discussion about women’s health in the workplace would make them feel more comfortable taking time off for appointments."

Everton were encouraged to sign up by employee Chantelle Day. She said:

“I was told I had severe cervical cell changes last year when I was 25. I found it really mentally draining and very overwhelming, but I was able to have treatment to prevent the cells from turning into cervical cancer. I feel enormously blessed right now but also know that for a lot of people the outcome would have been different. After my experience, it was important to me that other young women going through the same thing weren't afraid to talk about it. With Everton joining the Time to Test campaign I hope other businesses follow suit and pledge to support their female staff during what can be a very emotional and scary time.”

Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said:

“There are many barriers to cervical screening but work is a very practical one which we can and should try to tackle. Especially as we start returning to offices, we must try to avoid putting more barriers in place. Employers can help make cervical screening and cervical health visible and important in the workplace, so more women and people with a cervix feel confident and informed to attend. It’s amazing to join forces with such a recognisable and large employer such as Everton on board with Time to Test, and we hope many others follow suit. Cervical screening is the best protection against cervical cancer – it saves lives, and together we can ensure everyone has the Time to Test.”