University of Salford Manchester

Meeting patients’ information needs

Professor Paula Ormandy and her colleagues have developed a research programme to enhance the effectiveness of information available to people to improve their health. Paula and her team: 
  • Developed user responsive health information and enhanced use of digital media by healthcare providers;
  • Increased patient involvement in their health care leading to better health outcomes;
  • Supported the generation of evidence informed policy and strategy focused on patients’ information needs.

A number of innovative ways of getting health care messages across, including social media campaigns The Cat That got The Screen and  Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?, were devised.

“‘Are You Ready For Your Screen Test?’included humorous short films on You Tube based on blockbuster movies like Star Wars, Love Actually and Dirty Dancing was launched by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in partnership with the University of Salford and funded by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. The campaign used You Tube films, booklets, posters and radio, print, online and social media advertising and information with the Hollywood theme and had a massive impact. Analysis of the 12 month North West campaign was undertaken by Paula and her colleagues and findings from the 1,000 women surveyed included;

  • Only 49% of respondents of an eligible age (25-64) had been for a cervical screening test within NHS recommended time scales, rising to 73% post-campaign;
  • 51% reported some form of positive behaviour change as a result of the campaign;
  • 96% felt that the campaign was effective.

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s campaign encouraging women not to ignore a test which could mean the difference between life and death earned the Manchester-based group top billing in the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust 2011 Cervical Screening Awards.

"Promoting Cervical Screening in the North West: A Digital Media Based Approach" engaged women in the 24-29 age group and has embedded evaluation mechanisms throughout to constantly audit its performance, and adjust its methodology to maximise its impact. The campaign is improving this age group’s awareness, knowledge and confidence in cervical screening. Starting from a zero base in March 2013, in terms of community/network, to date the campaign website has received over 3000 unique views, Facebook has 2200 likes with an associated audience of over 120,000 and the YouTube videos have had almost 9500 views. Over 450 women (to 2013) completed the evaluative survey and our initial analysis is that 82% report that they think the campaign is effective, 50% report that it has had a positive effect on their knowledge, confidence or behaviour, 45% reported no change as they already went for screening.

Partner perspectives

"The success of Are You Ready For Your Screen Test? highlights the overwhelming need for, and benefit of, targeted campaigns on a wider scale. Countless lives have been put at risk for years because of the myth that lesbian and bisexual women don’t need cervical screening. Cervical cancer claims the lives of three women every day in the UK and sees a woman diagnosed every three hours, yet cervical cancer is preventable and the NHS screening programme plays a vital role in saving around 4,500 lives in England each year. But less than half of lesbian and bisexual women of eligible age surveyed in the North West had been for cervical screening during the recommended three to five years previously. And we knew lesbian women were being diagnosed with cervical cancer. There was a vital need to raise awareness.” Annie Emery, Programme Director at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation

“We have been delighted to work with The Lesbian & Gay Foundation in Manchester and the University of Salford on a pilot programme of campaigning and information giving to see how this change of policy could be turned into real life action. This report gives an account of that pilot; records what worked and what didn’t, and allows other parts of the country to learn from this exercise. I thank all those involved for their efforts and enthusiasm and commend this report to you.” Professor Julietta Patnick CBE Director, NHS Cervical Screening Programme, July 2011

Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to those affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, said: “I and the rest of the judges were hugely impressed with this winning application. It was innovative, creative and very well targeted. The results of this project are already proving to be very positive and of course this is a great example of best practice that can be shared with other organisations across England and the rest of the UK.”

Reports