Across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw there is an inbalance when it comes to cancer screening attendance. The Alliance embarked on commissioning an expert team fom Caja to apply a Behavioural Science approach to encourage those in areas of low attendance to access cancer screening services.

Behavioural Science is based on the study of “human habits, actions and intentions” spanning the fields of psychology, HR, economics and organisational behaviour. It recognises that traditional approaches such as simply educating or informing people do not work as well as we previously thought and incorporates a much wider set of factors – for example:

1. Who communicates information – Doctors and Nurses who have authority, mean information gains more trust and respect (MESSENGER)
2. How people are influenced by what others do (NORMS)
3. The incentives of what will be gained and more importantly what could be lossed (INCENTIVES)
4. How relevant or novel the informations is (SALIENCE)
5. How the information makes people feel about themselves (EGO)

Watch the Bite Size videos on the Communication and resources Tab to hear all about the theory and concepts used.

Cervical Screening

Phase one consists of applying the Behaviour Science techniques through primary care in areas with low attendance of Cervical screening.

The slide set below details the outline of the development and the application of the programme.

Phase One Behavioural Science Introduction Behavioural Science Introduction and Resources

Working with a small number of practices a programme of activity commenced to trial the nudge interventions to understand ease of application and impact and outcome.

The slide set above details the Behavioural science concepts, programme process steps and testimony and outcome from the early adopter practice.

The nudge interventions resources that are available and listed below, these include:

  • Cervical Screening Non responder letter with action to contact the surgery - Available in English, Urdu, Bengali, Polish, Slovak and Romanian. 
  • Cervical screening Non responder letter to attend a Drop in Clinic - Available in English Urdu, Bengali Polish, Slovak and Romanian.
  • Text message reminders
  • Telephone Conversation scripts to encouage individuals to attend
  • Video
  • Easy Read Cervical Screening Leaflets developed with individuals across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw - available in English, Polish, Slovak and Romanian.

These and more examples of the nudge promotional materials that have been developed, which you can find here.

If you are working in a practice that has a challenge to increase cervical screening attendance and you want to know more about the Behavioural Science programme please contact 

NHSEI colleagues are working with the Behavioural Science experts and the  Breast and Bowel screening providers to explore opportunities to apply Behavioural Science techniques to increase Bowel and Breast screening.  If you would like further information on this contact the screening and Immunisation team at

Also included in the resources available below are the Screening guides for Barnsley, Bassetlaw Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield which detail the National Cancer Screening programmes and local information. 

Behavioural Science Phase One: all resources

Title Filename
015021.1 SY&B Roma 6pp DL Info Leaflet.ENG.V4.pdf 015021.1_SYB_Roma_6pp_DL_Info_Leaflet.ENG.V4.pdf
015021.2 SY&B Roma 6pp DL Info Leaflet.POL.V2.pdf 015021.2_SYB_Roma_6pp_DL_Info_Leaflet.POL.V2.pdf
015021.3 SY&B Roma 6pp DL Info Leaflet.SK.V2.pdf 015021.3_SYB_Roma_6pp_DL_Info_Leaflet.SK.V2.pdf
015021.4 SY&B Roma 6pp DL Info Leaflet.RO.V3.pdf 015021.4_SYB_Roma_6pp_DL_Info_Leaflet.RO.V3.pdf
015029 SY&B Cervical Cancer Easy Guide 6pp DL.V2.pdf 015029_SYB_Cervical_Cancer_Easy_Guide_6pp_DL.V2.pdf
Behavioural Science Academy Info Behavioural Science Academy Info
Behavioural Science Cervical Screening programme Intro (004).pptx Behavioural_Science_Cervical_Screening_programme_Intro_004.pptx
Behavioural Science Newsletters Behavioural Science Newsletters
Caja - How to - Drop In Clinics V2 (002)CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Drop_In_Clinics_V2_002CW.pdf
Caja - How to - Opportunistic Screening Conversations V2CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Opportunistic_Screening_Conversations_V2CW.pdf
Caja - How to - Proactive prompt and help to book V2CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Proactive_prompt_and_help_to_book_V2CW.pdf
Caja - How to - Referral Tokens V2CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Referral_Tokens_V2CW.pdf
Caja - How to - Reminder SMS V2CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Reminder_SMS_V2CW.pdf
Caja - How to - Reminder SMS V2CW.pdf Caja_-_How_to_-_Reminder_SMS_V2CW.pdf
Cervical Cancer screening letter BS.doc Cervical_Cancer_screening_letter_BS.doc
Cervical Cancer screening letter standard.doc Cervical_Cancer_screening_letter_standard.doc
Example SMS Message wording.doc Example_SMS_Message_wording.doc
Opportunistic Script_v1.docx Opportunistic_Script_v1.docx
Pro-active Script_v1.docx Pro-active_Script_v1.docx
Roma Cervical Screening Letter Drop-in 22.docx Roma_Cervical_Screening_Letter_Drop-in_22.docx