Hartlepool health workers use rap music to spread an important life-saving message during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Staff at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust promote the  #dontfearthesmear campaign.
Staff at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust promote the #dontfearthesmear campaign.

A health trust has released a rap to encourage Hartlepool women to have a smear test.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust wants to raise awareness of the importance of the test, especially as it is a quick procedure which can save lives.

The rap was penned by staff and sends a clear message about the simple process of having a smear. Head of Communications and Marketing, Ruth Dalton said: “Being able to get the message out in a fun yet informative way was our team’s opportunity as healthcare practitioners to reach the wider public.

“Of course the message is serious, and with recent news items surrounding such low uptake of appointments – we felt a responsibility to do something.”

The video features staff from across the Trust at the Stockton and Hartlepool sites supporting the plea with passion.

Julie Lane, Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality, said: “We are a responsible trust, and we take our commitment to the healthcare of our region seriously, even though this video highlights our capacity to get a little creative with our message.

Staff at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust promote the  #dontfearthesmear campaign.

Staff at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust promote the #dontfearthesmear campaign.

“Though the video is satirical, it highlights such an important matter. We recognise that traditional channels of communication for this subject are not working for all audiences. We work closely with our primary care providers across the area, and if we can support them with their prevention objectives – we will continue to work hard to do so’.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme, first introduced in the 1980s, is credited with cervical cancer cases reducing by around 7% each year.

All women who are registered with a GP are invited for screening:

*aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years.

Being able to get the message out in a fun yet informative way was our team’s opportunity as healthcare practitioners to reach the wider public.

Ruth Dalton

*aged 50 to 64 – every 5 years.

*over 65 – only women who have recently had abnormal tests.

This week is Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. Reports indicate women attending their tests are at the lowest level for more than a decade. In 2018, 184,000 ladies didn’t attend.

The Trust’s clear message is ‘please go and have your smear – as mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, friends and so much more, you owe it to those who love you, but most of all to yourself’.