Cervical Smear Test

All females aged between 25 and 65 are periodically invited for a smear test.  Currently cervical smear tests are completed off site by the GP Alliance Team - appointments are offered every week-end 10am - 4pm;  there are two sites at which the tests are currently completed - Ashton Medical Practice or Pennygate Medical Centre (please ask for the full postal address when you ring to book an appointment).  If you have received your invitation letter, please telephone 01942 482848 to arrange an appointment to have the test carried out - the result will then be delivered back to your own/Registered GP in due course - please take copy of your invitation letter with you when you attend for your smear test appointment.

How often will I require a smear test?

As a result of research that evaluated the optimal necessary frequency for cervical screening, ladies are now invited for their first test at the age of 25. They are then invited every three years until the age of 49 and every five years from 50-64. From 65 years of age, only those ladies who have had previous abnormal smear tests, which require periodic review, are scheduled for further testing via the recall system. 

We would like to stress the importance of women attending for smear tests when called to do so. Testing allows early cell changes to be identified, following which the Practice will arrange onward referral to hospital, thus helping you to avoid cervical cancer.  The test is free, takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be a life saver - if you have any concerns with regards undergoing a smear test, please ask to speak to the Practice Nurse, who will be happy to answer your questions. 

If you are outside the above age group for cervical smear recall (ie less than 25 years of age or older than 65 years of age) and you feel you have any abnormal symptoms which may require further investigation, please book in to see the Doctor - such symptoms could include bleeding, discharge, soreness etc which is abnormal for you, personally, to have - if you are worried please consult with the Doctor.

If you are unsure when your next cervical smear test is due, please contact the surgery on 01942 807600 when staff will be able to advise you further.

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme: age extension 

Back in August 2018, Government Ministers agreed that bowel cancer screening in England should be offered to people from the age of 50. NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) began the age extension process from April 2021, starting a gradual expansion of the programme to include 56 year olds. This is the first phase of the gradual roll out to lower the screening starting age from 60 to 50 between now and 2025. The table below shows the age ranges and timeframes. NHS bowel cancer screening is offered every 2 years.

Cohort age at first invitation

Year invitations start

Age 56


Age 58


Age 54


Age 50 and 52


Bowel scope screening is no longer offered as part of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. It used to be offered at age 55. The starting age for age extension is 56 so we can invite people first who would previously have been eligible for bowel scope screening. As each screening centre starts age extension, they will invite people within the relevant age group as of that start date (and not before). 

For example: a centre starts age extension (inviting 56-year olds) on 1 June 2021. They will invite anyone who turns 56 from that date onwards. Anyone who was aged 56 before 1 June 2021 will be invited when they are eligible as part of the next age cohort (at age 58).


When people become eligible for bowel cancer screening they get an invitation letter in the post, along with an information leaflet explaining screening and its possible benefits and risks. Anyone with symptoms of bowel cancer should speak with their GP. This includes people who have recently had screening or a colonoscopy.  Please be aware that the test offered in the screening programme is designed for people with or without symptoms, therefore, do not ignore your invitation for screening if you do not have any symptoms.

If you received your invite and screening kit but have misplaced it, please contact 0800 707 6060 to speak to the bowel screening team - please have your NHS number to hand when you ring the bowel screening team (this can be found on your repeat prescription tear off sheet or on most hospital letters you may have received.

Breast Screening 

Breast screening appointments are sent out to female patients as per their age and also as per their GP Practice;  by the age of 53 years of age, you should have had an invite for screening, if not or if you have a query re your breast screening appointment please contact 01942 774713 to discuss matter further or Email: BSUappointments@wwl.nhs.uk .  Breast Screening self-referrals for women aged 71 years and over has resumed, please use the contact details quoted in this paragraph to discuss matter further with the breast screening team.  Further information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-screening-mammogram/how-to-book-or-change-an-appointment/

If you have not received invite for breast screening by the time you are 53 years of age, please ring the breast screening team on 01942 774713 to discuss the matter.

It is not only female patients who, sadly, can develop breast cancer;  if you are male and feel you have a problem(s) in your chest/breast area, please seek advice from your GP - do not be afraid to seek advice if you have any concerns in this area.

Abdominal Aneurysm Screening (AAA also known as a triple A test)

AAA screening is offered to men during the screening year (1 April to 31 March) that they turn 65. Men aged 65 and over are most at risk of AAAs, and screening can help spot a swelling in the aorta at an early stage.

Screening is not routinely offered to groups where there is a smaller risk of an AAA. These are:

  • men under the age of 65
  • women
  • anyone who has already been treated for an AAA

Men who are resident in England receive an invitation in the post for screening when they are aged 64 or 65.

Men over 65 who have not received an invitation can contact their local AAA screening service to make an appointment - local telephone number for patients in the Wigan area is 0161 291 5716.


Any women, or men under 65 who think they are at higher risk (for example, due to family history of the condition) can talk to their GP about the possibility of having a scan outside the screening programme.

Condition screened for -

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from the heart down through the chest and tummy. The NHS website has more information, including:

  • symptoms of an AAA
  • treatments of an AAA
  • reducing your risk of an AAA

AAA screening test

The AAA screening test is a quick and painless ultrasound scan of the abdomen (tummy) - It is like the scan pregnant women have to check on their baby.

In England, screening for AAA is offered to men during the year they turn 65.

Men aged 65 or over are most at risk of getting AAAs. Screening can help spot a swelling in the aorta early on when it can usually be treated.

Screening for AAA is not routinely offered to:

  • women
  • men under 65
  • people who have already been treated for an AAA

This is because the risk of getting an AAA is much smaller in these groups.

If you're over 65 years old, you can ask for a scan to check for an AAA if you think you might need one but have not been offered a screening test.

For the scan:

  1. The man lies down on a table and lifts up or unbuttons his top (he does not need to undress).
  2. The scanning technician rubs a clear gel on the tummy and moves a small handheld scanner over the skin – pictures from the scanner are shown on a monitor and the technician measures how wide the aorta is.
  3. The technician wipes away the gel and the man pulls down or buttons up their top.
  4. The technician tells the man his screening result straight away.

The whole test usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

There are 4 AAA screening results. These are:

  • no aneurysm found
  • small AAA
  • medium AAA
  • large AAA

You can read more on the NHS website about what each result means, and what will happen next - this can be a life saving screening test - please follow up your invitation for testing PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE IT.

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