Cervical cancer screening made free

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn

Regular smear tests will be available for free under plans to improve preventative medicine

Cervical cancer screening will be freely available under plans unveiled by the government on Monday.

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn revealed the scheme to make three-yearly smear tests freely available in an interview on France Inter on Sunday.

"We are very bad at prevention in France, we have a health system that only finances care once we are sick and very badly finances preventative action," Ms Buzyn said.

"The Prime Minister and I will launch a major prevention plan with concrete measures that will help the French fall ill less often and save lives."

A total 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in France every year - and the disease is responsible for 1,000 deaths annually.

The Social Security Financing Act 2018, which adopted in December, provides for 100% health insurance coverage for regular consultations to prevent breast and cervical cancer for women aged 25 and over.

Monday's announcement will also reveal more details about the establishment of an outreach "health service" of 47,000 future doctors, midwives and nurses who will travel around schools, offices, and retirement homes from September 2018 offering preventative health services and advice.

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