TENS of thousands of eligible Oxfordshire women missed their last smear test, figures show.

NHS Digital data reveals 71 per cent of the 197,820 women in Oxfordshire eligible for a smear test by the end of 2019 had been screened – the point at which the latest data is available.

Although that was up from 70 per cent over the same period in 2018, it meant 57,868 women in the area were missing out on the potentially life-saving programme which checks for signs of cervical cancer.

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Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for screening every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 receive invitations every five years.

Across England, 72 per cent of eligible women had been screened by the end of December, up slightly from 71 per cent the year before.

Cervical screening services across England are slowly unpausing following disruption during lockdown, which saw invites suspended and appointments delayed.