Unable to get appointment for smear test

(21 Posts)
MemorialBeach Thu 22-Nov-18 21:30:40

I phoned my GP surgery a couple of weeks ago to book a smear test, my first ever. I expected to be able to book an appointment in the next 2 or 3 weeks and was very surprised to be told the only two appointments available were on Christmas eve and the day after Boxing day - both days when I am away at the other end of the country. I was told to phone back in a couple of weeks to see if appointments for January have been released. I did so today and was told there are no appointments at all available, and all I can do is phone every week to ask if any have been released.

Can anyone tell me whether this is normal to not be able to book a smear? How long am I likely to have to wait? Surely if there is a regular screening programme, there should be enough appointments available for all women who want one? Is it just a problem with my particular GP surgery? I don't go to the GP very often so don't really know easy or hard it generally is to get an appointment.

OP’s posts: |
Bunnybigears Thu 22-Nov-18 21:33:35

Watching with interest as Im having a similar problem. There was 1 appointment available but at a time I couldnt attend due to work. The receptionist said that as I hadn't taken that one I would be looking at February before there was any more slots.

MemorialBeach Fri 23-Nov-18 07:05:28

Wow, I thought a possible wait till January was a long time, February seems ridiculous! My situation is complicated by me being perimenopausal with irregular periods. As I have no idea when my periods are going to be, I can't book for a time when I won't have one, so there's a risk I may need to cancel if my period arrives. The receptionist did say if that happened to talk I could talk to the practice manager and I wouldn't necessarily need to wait weeks for another appointment. Alternatively she suggested I book 2 appointments and then cancel whichever one I don't need.

OP’s posts: |
galaxy101 Fri 23-Nov-18 07:11:09

I had to wait a month for mine. Just book the earliest one you are able to attend.

MemorialBeach Fri 23-Nov-18 19:50:28

I would book the earliest I can attend if there were any appointments available to be booked! I s it normal for there to be none at all available? And for the receptionists to have no idea when any are going to be released?

OP’s posts: |
tribpot Fri 23-Nov-18 20:05:02

I wonder if it's the time of year - if the nurses are very booked up with flu clinics this might explain why no-one has got time to do smear tests. I've never had a problem getting an appointment at my practice and mine is usually done at this time of year.

I would contact your CCG's Patient Advice and Liaison Service and ask where else you can get your smear test done if there is no capacity at your practice. The most effective way is likely to be asking the CCG directly on Twitter - they don't tend to like that!

FlyingUnicorn1 Fri 23-Nov-18 20:16:57

Sorry I can't give any advice on appointments but I think they now say they can do a smear test even if you are on your period, unless it's really heavy.

WantAPlaceToCallMyOwn Fri 23-Nov-18 20:31:17

Your GUM clinic may do them? They often have lots and lots of availability and walk in sessions if so.

OrcinusOrca Fri 23-Nov-18 20:35:16

Sometimes if it's your first they insist you have a double slot to make sure it can be done without rushing you. Getting back to back slots can prove tricky.

vodkaanddietcokeplease Fri 23-Nov-18 20:37:55

I was going to say the same as a PP, do you have a local GUM clinic? Ours offers appointments and also walk in clinics on a couple of days a week.
Not ideal to sit and wait but that's the way it is unfortunately, better to do that than not be able to get your smear done at all smile

Sweetiedarlingletmein Fri 23-Nov-18 20:39:31

Definitely try your local contraception/sexual health clinic. They normally do them and you probably will just be able to walk in. Just take the slip from your screening letter with you.

bringbackthestripes Fri 23-Nov-18 20:47:22

It is generally a couple of months wait where I go as they are longer slots that need to be booked rather than usual 10 min slots for shorter routine appointments. The practice I work at could book you with only a week or two delay BUT flu season is a very busy time so appointments are thin on the ground. Is there a local well woman clinic or sexual health clinic nearby you can attend instead?

georgedawes Fri 23-Nov-18 20:51:48

I was going to suggest sexual health clinic too. I only found out in passing there was a drop in clinic at the local hospital that did smears, had my first one there and it was fine. Maybe worth investigating if there's anything like that locally?

SumitosIsMyWall Fri 23-Nov-18 20:55:02

We don't have to book for a smear, you just rock up at the medical centre in the morning and ask for a nurse appointment. She holds open clinic every morning which is fantastic. Seeing some of these responses I think I'll write to the practice manager to praise their set up and how well it works!

Memorial definitely get in touch with your sexual health service. They normally have a mixture of appointment or sit and wait sessions. The wait you've been told to expect is ridiculous. No wonder there's such a low uptake of smear tests!

HeyMicky Fri 23-Nov-18 21:00:35

I booked on Wednesday and there were two work hour appointments available next month - I found a time mid-January.

I did just receive a letter from my CCG, though, so I wonder if it's done in batches and there are peaks and troughs in appointments

lakeswimmer Fri 23-Nov-18 21:03:09

I've just had one - I phoned up and they gave me one at about two/three weeks ahead at a convenient time slot so I didn't need to take time off work. It took about 10 minutes in total (if that) so I'm not sure that longer appointments are needed for a routine test.

Cherries101 Fri 23-Nov-18 21:06:55

You could go to urgent care. A lot of them do smear tests. Alternatively if you have a

MemorialBeach Fri 23-Nov-18 21:26:15

Thank you everyone, I did wonder if the local sexual health clinic might do them but checked their website very thoroughly and there is nothing on there mentioning smear tests at all. I think I may go the route of tweeting the CCG.

OP’s posts: |
QueenoftheNights Sun 25-Nov-18 12:22:33

If this is your first, you must be around 25? Waiting a few weeks ( couple of months) is neither here no r there unless you have symptoms in which case your GP should see you anyway and maybe bring it forward.

You can also have smears privately for around £50 - local private hospitals, Marie Stopes clinics, maybe Brook?

Why is it so urgent?

MemorialBeach Sun 25-Nov-18 16:09:15

I'm not 25, I'm in my mid 40s (and as per a previous post perimenopausal). No symptoms and not urgent as such. I don't know how long after becoming sexually active it would be recommended to have a first one, so wanted to get one booked for peace of mind. I am just finding it strange that there are no appointments at all available, and they can't tell me when any will be, when there is so much fuss made about how important it is to have them. I didn't know if this wait was normal.

OP’s posts: |
MemorialBeach Sun 25-Nov-18 16:10:52

If waiting a couple of months isn't going to make any difference, I'll just phone my GP every week to see if appointments are available yet.

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in