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Objectives: To assess the value of the cervical smear test to women, taking account of the positive and negative aspects of the cervical screening service. Design: A postal survey. Setting: Tayside Health Board region of Scotland. Participants: A sample of 2000 women aged 20–59. Main outcome measures: Maximum willingness to pay (WTP) for a cervical smear test. Results: Women were prepared to pay £50.20 per smear on a 3-yearly basis. Willingness to pay was positively related to income, but unrelated to age and whether or not the respondent had previously had a smear. Conclusions: Previous studies have estimated the cost per screen or cost per life year saved by cervical screening. This study used the economic instrument of WTP to take account of other potential (dis)benefits to women. The value women place on having a smear was more than the cost to the National Health Service (NHS) of providing the service. The output of a WTP study is potentially useful at the policy level. Future work should explore both the value of alternative approaches to cervical screening, and the value of competing health care interventions.

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