Women’s Preferences for Communication with the Cervical Screening Programme: A Qualitative Study

Roshini Ravindran* (Corresponding Author), Seonaidh Cotton, Margaret Cruickshank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


In Scotland, invitations and results for cervical screening are sent by post. We ask the question: is this an effective means of communication in the 21st century? Consideration of other ways of communicating with women may help to increase acceptability of the cervical screening programme.

To explore perspectives of screening‐eligible women, regarding methods for communication of invitations and results from the cervical screening programme to improve acceptability.

A qualitative study design using semi‐structured face‐to‐face or telephone interviews with women aged 25‐65 years. Thirty interviews were directed using visual cues to generate discussion. Interviews were audio‐recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of the data was conducted using a Framework approach.

The main advantage of the postal system is its perceived formality; however, its lack of speed was a concern. Advantages of e‐communication included speed and convenience; however, concerns such as lack of confidentiality and access were mentioned. Telephone communication was deemed impractical, while face‐to‐face communication was highly regarded. Furthermore, the majority of participants felt screening appointments set at a specific date and time may improve uptake. Overall, participants believed there is no universal solution regarding the issue of communication.

At present, the postal system may be an appropriate method for invitation and results for cervical screening; however, there may be greater scope for preference of communication to improve the acceptability of the screening programme to women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Early online date30 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This research took place in the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian, Aberdeen, UK. We are grateful to the women who participated in our study and the NHS staff at the Women's Day Clinic in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for their support. Funding was obtained from NHS Grampian Endowment fund for summer studentship.


  • cervical screening
  • cervix
  • communication


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