Complex Conversations: New approaches in social marketing research for Tower Hamlets

Dr. Stephen Bell and Johanna Shapira
Ipsos MORI


We would like to thank all the participants, and our peer researchers in particular, who took part in the research both for the time they gave and for the openness with which they expressed their views. We would also like to thank the research team at Tower Hamlets PCT and, in particular, Paul Collins, for his help, input and advice throughout the study.

At Ipsos MORI we would like to thank our colleagues within the research teams in the Social Marketing and Ethnography Units of the Social Research Institute – Laura Clarke, Victoria Guyatt and Dan Wellings – whose work on the design and delivery of the project was central to its success.


This paper discusses recent work undertaken by Ipsos MORI for NHS Tower Hamlets examining how uptake of cervical screening services in the borough can be improved. With a cervical screening coverage rate of 72.3%, cervical screening rates in Tower Hamlets are amongst the lowest nationally and, like the London and national picture, show a downward trend in coverage (Tower Hamlets 2007). Tower Hamlets is also failing to meet the NHS target of 80%, which, if achieved, is estimated to prevent around 95% of cervical cancer deaths in the long term (NHS Cervical Screening Programme, 2010). Coverage rates are declining faster in younger women, and given the young population profile in Tower Hamlets, could be a trend to disproportionately affect the area.