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Parliament debates smear test age restriction

The family of teenager Sophie Jones who died after being refused a smear test because of her age watched yesterday as MPs debated her “lifesaving legacy.”

The emotive debate in Parliament was the 19-year-old’s last wish before she lost her fight with cancer on March 14. 

Sophie’s mum Peri and other family members watched from the public gallery as Liverpool Labour MP Steve Rotherham called for a rule change to stop other girls dying. 

He told the Commons how Sophie had built a modelling career before her GP refused her a smear test because the condition that claimed her life is rare among under-25s. 

“Sophie’s diagnosis came too late for treatment to be successful but it should never have been that way,” said Mr Rotherham. 

“And this — for her family and friends — is what makes her case so painful.

“Sophie was failed by the current system and it should not be allowed to happen again.”

But Mr Rotherham insisted Sophie’s was not an isolated case and his motion called for the government to issue urgent advice that no woman should be denied a smear test. 

He said the changes would not see teenagers rush for smear tests but would ensure “Sophie did not die in vain.”

His call has been backed by over 320,000 people who signed an official government e-petition, making it the most popular ever. 

A government spokeswoman said it would not issue new guidance but was committed to raising awareness that tests are available among young girls and GPs.


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