Sunderland woman Amber Rose Cliff’s tragic death prompts Theresa May to back calls for cancer test change

Amber Rose Cliff, who died last January after she developed cervical cancer.
Amber Rose Cliff, who died last January after she developed cervical cancer.
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Amber's Law could be made a reality after Prime Minister Theresa May said the Government will take a new look at the age restrictions on cervical smear checks.

The campaign, launched by the Sunderland woman's family in the wake of her death last January, has urged for a rethink on the rules so that women under 25 who go to their GP with symptoms of cervical cancer can under go a test.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott raised the issue in Parliament of smear tests for under-25s.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott raised the issue in Parliament of smear tests for under-25s.

Amber, who worked for Gentoo, had been declined a check by her GP and by the time she paid for one privately, her cancer had spread.

Today, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott spoke at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) about Amber's case, and asked the Government to reconsider the guidelines.

She spoke of how Amber, from Ashbrooke, had visited her doctor more than 30 times over concerns about symptoms she was experiencing.

Now Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be asked to take a fresh look at the issue, as the Prime Minister urged women to keep up to date with checks and acknowledged questions have been raised about the scheme.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she will ask the Health Secretary to take a look at how smear tests concerns.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she will ask the Health Secretary to take a look at how smear tests concerns.

The questions come as Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is under way, which has been backed by Amber's family.
In reply to Ms Elliott's request for a change in the rules, Mrs May said: "I send my condolences and I'm sure the whole house does to Amber's family for this terrible thing that has happened.

"The smear test is hugely important.

"Sadly what we see is as far as those who qualify today to have their smear test, is that too many women do not take it up.

"I know it's not comfortable to do because I have, as others do, but it is so important for women's health, and I first of all want to encourage women to actually take that test.

"Secondly, the question is raised about the availability of that test, and I will ask my Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Health, to look at this issue.

"It is a question that has been raised before for those who are aged under 25.

"Of course, action has been taken in terms of the vaccine that has been introduced for teenagers, and there have been some questions through that and people that live in my constituency have raised questions.

"We need to address this issue and that is one possibility and we will look at that question of the age qualification for the smear test, but overall, the message is, please, those called for their smear test, go to have it."

Darren Cliff, Amber's father, said; "We will keep pushing. It's been a big day for the campaign today to get what we want."

Following the session in Parliament, Ms Elliott said: "Today in Prime Minister’s Questions I called on Theresa May to look at allowing women under 25 to access smear tests following the death of my 25-year-old constituent Amber Rose Cliff from cervical cancer last January.

"Amber went to her GP around 30 times with symptoms, repeatedly asking for a smear test. She only got this test when she paid to have it done privately, by which point the cancer had spread.

"This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, so I called on the Prime Minister to support Amber’s family in their campaign to introduce Amber's Law, which would change the regulations so that women under 25 can access smear tests if they request one when symptomatic.

"I hope the Prime Minister will look at introducing Amber’s Law, so that what happened to Amber doesn’t happen to any more young women."

A petition calling for a change to the rules through the Amber's Law campaign can be found by clicking here and more can be found about Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust via www.jostrust.org.uk.

More can also be found via the Amber's Law Facebook and Twitter account @Ambers_Law, as well as Instagram.