Child minder offers free care so mothers can attend cervical screenings
PUBLISHED: 20:31 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 22 March 2019
A woman has joined an increasing number of child minders across the country in offering free child care so mothers can attend cervical screenings.
Gemma Moss, of Oak Close in Thetford, has been passionate about encouraging more women to get cervical screenings since being diagnosed with endometriosis aged 17.
Now 33, Miss Moss is in the clear, but is still required to take regular tests to check her condition.
She said: “We have heard stories of doctors saying women can’t take their children to the appointment and apparently it’s a widespread problem.
“I get that children can be a hindrance and the mums need to relax for the process, so a few child minders across the country are offering an hour’s free care if they have the spaces available.
“I’m lucky enough that I can bring my four-year-old and I have time to get to an appointment after work, a lot of women finish work too late.”
Cervical screenings, also known as smear tests, currently prevent up to 75pc of cervical cancers yet thousands of women who are at risk of the disease are unaware of its importance.
The most common form of cancer in women under 35, more than 200,000 British women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities every year.
Screenings are available to all women in the UK over the age of 25 on the NHS and, although not a test for cancer, it tests how healthy the cells in the cervix are.
Miss Moss said: “There has been a big decline in tests being taken. Most people are just too frightened but the second most common excuse is they have to watch the kids.
“I don’t think offering a free hour will impact on child minders greatly, most of us charge around £4 for an hour. I just hope that more in the profession will start to do this too.”
“I have always tried to fight to get the age lowered. I have never understood people who just don’t go. It’s not actually uncomfortable if you are relaxed. It’s just so important to get it done.
“When I was diagnosed with endometriosis aged 17 they refused me a smear test for years. Eventually I got one when I was 24 and they found abnormal cells. Thankfully they didn’t turn into anything but I dread to think what would have happened if I had left it longer.”
Miss Moss’s business is called Little Gem’s Childminding and can be contacted for bookings on 07947 528404.