A group of Japanese medics, hoping to improve cervical cancer screening rates in their country, have been getting some useful help and advice from experts at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The group hope to base their services on those practiced in the UK, where 80 per cent of women eligible for screening choose to be tested.
Seven medical and academic professionals from Japan visited Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital to meet members of Hampshire’s cervical cancer screening team, who included staff from the hospital’s pathology team, who provide testing for the screening service.
The visit highlighted the successful processes adopted by Hampshire Hospitals, which also runs Basingstoke hospital, to improve the patient pathway.
The visitors were also shown national initiatives including a computerised system that automatically reminds women to book their screening appointments. They learned about handling cultural barriers that dissuade Japanese women from undergoing screening.
Cultural differences prevent open discussions of sexual health issues, and only doctors, most of whom are male, are authorised to screen for cervical cancer, which costs between £10 and £50 per patient. In the UK, the majority of cervical cancer screening tests are undertaken by a trained female nurse and are provided for free by the NHS.
Minori Tabuchi, a Japanese biomedical scientist who was part of the visiting group, said: “England has very good cervical cancer systems with good communication between hospitals, laboratories and other relevant people. We’re trying to increase awareness of cervical cancer screening in Japan, but would not be able to do so without the collaboration or help from the team at Hampshire Hospitals and their partner organisations.”