THOUSANDS of Isle of Wight women are still not attending vital cervical screening appointments.

As the UK marks Cervical Screening Awareness Week, women on the Island are being reminded of the importance of booking their appointments.

Figures show nearly a third of those eligible are not coming forward.

Women between the ages of 25 and 64 years are invited for regular cervical screening by the NHS.

It can help reduce the number of women who develop invasive cervical cancer and to spot the problems early in those that do have it, reducing the number of women who die from it each year.

The latest data available from NHS Digital showed that in the 25-49 year old age group on the Isle of Wight, 18,496 women were eligible and 13,300 were screened.

For the 50-64 age group 15,280 were eligible and 13,396 were screened.

Dr Michele Legg, clinical director for the Isle of Wight on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is a not a test for cancer, it is a test to help prevent cancer and usually only takes a few minutes and our Island health practitioners can put you at ease and help support you through this safe, simple and effective process.”

Patients will usually receive a letter inviting them to book an appointment which they can do either using their surgery’s online appointments system or telephoning their practice directly.

Women who are not sure when their screening is due can phone their doctor's surgery.