Jill E Thistlethwaite
The Pap test is an important, regularly performed procedure in general practice, either alone or as part of a 'well woman check'. Pap tests incur costs to the government of over $100 million annually.1 The value placed on elements of a woman's health check as screening procedures varies among general practitioners, in particular with regards to whether a pelvic examination is a valid screening test and an essential part of the Pap test.2,3
Women express various opinions
regarding expectations and experiences
of having Pap tests, particularly with
regards to explanation of the procedure,
its implications and results, and
accompanied preventive health activities.
To explore patient expectations and
experiences regarding Pap tests and
associated screening activities.
Semistructured interviews were
conducted with volunteer female patients.
Twenty-four women were interviewed.
There was variation in expectations
regarding consultations for a Pap test,
and also of the information given as
to what is meant by a ‘normal’ result.
Many women expressed a preference
for a female and regular health
professional to undertake their smear.
Recognition of general and individual
barriers to cervical screening by
health professionals will enhance
patient access to, and acceptance of,
screening activities. Understanding
patient expectations regarding Pap
tests ensures practitioners deliver health
services with sufficient information and
without false reassurance.
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