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Women's health

BC withheld over Pap smear

37 replies

Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 10:26

I had a phone call with a doctor on 22/04 I picked up the new prescription on 24/04. She said over the phone she would add me to 'the list' and I'd get a phone call when an appointment for the implant replacement became available. 7 weeks later no phone call. My implant is due to run out this month!

I have a feeling it is because I sent a letter to my GP with informed dissent in regards to cervical screening. I filled out the correct forms and sent it recorded delivery and it was signed for on 10/05. However today I received an invitation for cervical screening in the post. So it is clear to me they have ignored my letter.

I intend to go into the GP this afternoon on lunch break and I have printed out all the Government consent to cancer screening documents in which it clearly states cervical screening is a choice and birth control can not be held back due to non compliance.

I hate confrontation but I will do my best to stand up for myself. Any advice?

If your wondering why I don't want a Pap smear... I mean really? Isn't it obvious. I just don't think I would recover, I have bad depression and this would just be too much for me. I know the doctor can prescribe one off sedatives, but honestly this just makes me laugh, clearly this test is unacceptable for so many women yet nothing has changed.

OP posts:
feathermucker · 05/06/2019 10:30

Sorry for how this sounds.

My friend felt the same, didn't want one, felt it was too traumatic, painful, invasive.

Eventually, she went for one but it was too late. She died last Christmas. She was 31.

There are many ways in which a smear can be made easier.


feathermucker · 05/06/2019 10:30

But, if they're withholding contraception because of this, than that is unreasonable.

Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 10:31

I would rather die.

OP posts:
JessieTalamasca · 05/06/2019 10:33

Unfortunately, you will get an utter flaming on here for not having cervical screening, even though it is a choice and as long as you are an adult of sound mind who is making an informed decision it is no one's business.

I'd actually try to find a family planning or sexual health clinic and explain that you are unable to get a GP appointment until after the implant runs out and get them to change it for you.

But break out the marshmallows, it is a mortal sin not to take up any sort of screening on MN and you will very certainly die in a few weeks it will be all your fault and you will be consigned to eternal flames for not having a cervical screening test after you've been told 101 ways It Is Possible.

feathermucker · 05/06/2019 10:35

You'd rather die of long drawn out pain, terrible symptoms and to leave behind loved ones?

It's clear that your smear test refusal is down to extreme fear. Of course you would recover from it, the anticipation is worse than the actual event and there are many ways to make it easier.

TeenTimesTwo · 05/06/2019 10:35

It's possible that your withdrawal from screening was 'too late' to prevent the standard letter going out. Sometimes these things take 6 weeks or so to get through the systems.

Contraception shouldn't be withheld obviously, but again, you don't know that is the case, there could be delays due to leave or whatever.

Ring up the surgery, check you are on the list for implant, explain it will be running out soon etc. Don't assume the worst until they tell you.

DDIJ · 05/06/2019 10:37

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Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 10:37

That's a great idea, thank you!
Yeah hahaha I will just ignore the unhelpful ones :) xx

OP posts:
feathermucker · 05/06/2019 10:37

So, we're the ones catastrophising over the implications of refusing a smear test yet no one ever mentions anything like you've said.......about instant death etc. Don't be ridiculous.

Not flaming anyone, pointing out a real life event that caused someone to die because they left their smear test too late.

OP said she'd rather die, yet that's not irrational?

AlphaBlocks · 05/06/2019 10:38

They may just have crap staff & you've been lost in the pile of admin...

rosie1959 · 05/06/2019 10:41

Reminds me of when I first went on the pill in the late 1970s A smear test was required before any contraception was issued When I queried this I was informed if I was mature enough to have sex I was also mature enough to have the test
Charming thought times had moved on by now
But saying that I would not t refuse a test now takes two mins and have had quite a few since then

McFrostyNuts · 05/06/2019 10:41

Do you actually know for a fact that they are withholding contraception because you refuse a smear test?

They could be crap and your name wasn't added to the list like she said. Or an honest oversight.

Dont think you should go in all guns blazing.

Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 10:42

Yes there are ways to make the test acceptable, like changing it from an invasive test to a blood test.
But as long as there are women who are happy to have the invasive test and belittle women who don't want it, nothing will change.

OP posts:
Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 10:45

Okay I will not go in all guns blazing. I will just ask where my name is on the list and how much long I will be expected to wait. Thanks for the help :)

OP posts:
jackparlabane · 05/06/2019 10:55

There are severe shortages of docs/nurses trained to do implants, fit coils, etc. I'd call the GP to ask how long the wait will be, plus all the local sexual health/family planning clinics - in my area in London you have to go online at noon on Fridays to see if appts have become available.

The smear request was probably issued automatically and updates to the list are probably done every few months when they can spare an admin person, so don't take that personally.

You know how they say don't assume malice when it's more likely incompetence? It's most likely NHS underfunding, then incomoetence/admin error, so I'd concentrate on chasing up adequate contraception (the implant can cause depression so you may want to consider an alternative).

In due course, you could look into the HPV vaccine, getting prescribed diazepam to help with a smear, having a trusted GP or nurse do it after an appt to discuss, maybe taking a friend with you, but that's not as urgent as contraception.

PlatypusPie · 05/06/2019 10:55

In our area, letters of invitation are sent out centrally covering a few trust regions. I was having ongoing gynaecological problems and treatment and it was agreed with the consultant, the fabulous nurse practitioner AND my GP, that I would not be attending routine smears.I received an invitation ( to make an appointment) , which I ignored, and another. I saw my GP yesterday about something entirely unrelated and mentioned this and she apologised and said the invite system was clunky and slow to amend.

ForTheLoveOfDoughnuts · 05/06/2019 11:01

@Justtryingtolive I had a letter regarding cervical screening this week. It didn't come from my gp surgery. It was clearly a letter sent centrally from the nhs trust. The last 2 of these have all said to contact my gp for an appointment. And not had details of my surgery on them.

Justtryingtolive · 05/06/2019 11:13

Okay sure I will assume they have not done it on purpose. I really hope I can be removed from the list as I avoid the doctors at all costs in fear they will try to convince me to have one there and then (opportunistic testing) in any appointment I attend and I would find it extremely intimidating.

OP posts:
ForTheLoveOfDoughnuts · 05/06/2019 11:26

@Justtryingtolive I really don't understand why any woman would be so against something that's minimally invasive and over in moments.

Lougle · 05/06/2019 11:30

How can a blood test tell you if there are microscopic changes to your cervical cells??

Do you not think they if there was an easier way than a smear, they'd have used it by now?

Kannet · 05/06/2019 11:33

I'm actually grateful to have access to screening like this. It has saved many many lives.

TapasForTwo · 05/06/2019 11:34

“This used to be standard. I had to have smear test at 15”

In the UK? I have never heard of this. I started on the pill in the late 1970s and wasn’t offered a smear test.

“In due course, you could look into the HPV vaccine, getting prescribed diazepam to help with a smear, having a trusted GP or nurse do it after an appt to discuss, maybe taking a friend with you, but that's not as urgent as contraception”

This ^^ sounds very sensible. I don’t enjoy smear tests or going to the dentist, but they are a jolly sight better than the alternative. What support are you getting for your depression?


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Princessdebthe1st · 05/06/2019 11:34

Dear OP, I would also assume the delay in getting your implant appointment is due to clunky systems, lack of resources or incompetence rather than attempt to pressure you into a smear.
For those berating the OP for not having her smear can I remind you that as an adult she has the absolute right to decline medical intervention without having to provide a reason never mind one that you or a HCP agrees with. There are many reasons that women decline smear tests many of which are complex. If a HCP wants to support a woman to access the test then they need to start with an empathetic approach that respects the woman's right to choose. Making the OP feel bad about declining will only make the situation worse.
OP, whatever your reason for declining the smear I hope you are receiving any support you need.

Bluestitch · 05/06/2019 11:38

Cervical screening is changing nationwide now OP. They are rolling out primary screening where they test the sample for HPV and only examine further if the sample is positive. You could do a non invasive test for HPV instead and if it's negative you don't need to do anything further, if it's positive you can have another think about a smear.

They shouldn't withhold contraception either way, how would an unwanted pregnancy help.

mustdrivesoon · 05/06/2019 11:43

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