All 32 Clinical Commissioning Groups in London will roll out a new text reminder service next month for cervical cancer screening.
From August, women registered with GP services in London will begin to receive messages on their mobile phone encouraging them to book screening appointments.
The service has been commissioned by Public Health England and NHS England under efforts to increase attendance to cervical cancer screenings, which increase the chances of catching the disease early and improving outcomes.
In London, it is hoped this could equate to one life being saved every week.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, regional director of PHE London, said: “We know that cervical screening reduces cancer deaths, so it is important to utilise technology in order to reach the maximum number of people. This new reminder service is a welcome step towards increasing uptake in London.”
Screening rates for cervical cancer have seen a steady decline in recent years, with NHS Digital recently urging GPs in make more use of the tools at their disposal to reverse the trend.
Previous research has indicated that text messages are an effective means of promoting attendance to screening appointments, with one study showing a 4% increase in uptake when text-based reminders were used.
Dr Josephine Ruwende, cancer screening lead for NHS England (London), said: “95% of people in the UK have mobile phones, so it makes sense to use this technology to send women reminders via text.
“This technology could lead to an additional 25,000 women in London participating in screening in the next 12 months, which will lead to earlier detection and more lives being saved.”
The service will be facilitated by iPlato, a text-based alerts service used by GPs and health commissioners for healthcare campaigns.
Dr Doyle said: “We are committed to improving cervical screening attendance, particularly among younger women, and we hope the text message service will encourage women across the capital to make and keep these vital appointments.”