Cervical Cytology and Screening
The change over from Open Exeter to a new NHS Digital management system for cervical screening, that was due to commence 1st November 2021, has now been delayed until 2022.
In the meantime, NHS Digital advise that it’s important to continue to complete all essential IT and Registration Authority (RA) prerequisites and provides are asked to do so by 1 December 2021.
Cervical Screening Campaign
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme has made a significant impact on cervical cancer mortality since it was established in 1988, saving an estimated 5,000 lives a year.
“Around 2,600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 690 women die from the disease, which is 2 deaths every day. It is estimated that if everyone attended screening regularly, 83% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented.
New research from PHE shows that nearly all women eligible for screening (90%) would be likely to take a test that could help prevent cancer - and of those who have attended screening, 9 in 10 (94%) would encourage others who are worried to attend their cervical screening. Despite this, screening is at a 20-year low, with 1 in 4 eligible women (those aged 25 to 64) in the UK not attending their test.” (PHE March 2019)
Our page aims to give additional information on a variety of topics related to cervical cytology including: -
- national cervical cytology screening
- educational pathways for HCPs eligible to undertake cervical cytology
- requirements standards for those new to sample taking, returners and current sample takers
- accessing training at a local level.
Responding to Private HPV Self-sample Tests
The purchase of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling home testing kits is increasing. Results of these private tests will not be acted on by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHS CSP) and cannot be recorded in an individual’s NHS screening record.
If a private test result is positive, the person should be advised that having HPV does not mean they have or will get cervical cancer.
HPV is common; over 80% of the population will get it at some point during their lives.
Individuals eligible for the NHS CSP remain so, even if they have had a private test. Most HPV infections clear themselves without causing problems. If someone has persistent HPV infection, it will be identified when they accept their next NHS CSP invitation.
Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over 10 years in three stages:
1.Infection with HPV
2.Development of abnormal cells if the immune system does not rid the HPV infection
3.Development of cancer if abnormal cells are not treated.
Eligibility of health professionals to train as sample takers
Taken from PHE Education Pathway (section 3.1)
The following UK registered healthcare professionals are eligible to train to undertake the role of cervical sample taker:
- registered nurses
- registered nursing associates*
- registered midwives
- physician associates who are registered on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR)
- registered healthcare professionals working in integrated sexual health (ISH) clinics
- General Medical Council (GMC) registered medical doctors
*Taking cervical samples is a delegated activity and the nursing associate works within the remits of their professional code. The screening provider must consider safety, quality, competency and the treatment of disease, disorder or injury (TDDI) legislation when deploying a nursing associate. When a nursing associate has registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), a registered professional listed under the legislation (registered nurse or GP) will need to supervise their practice. The individual who provides this professional support must be present at the GP practice in order to undertake indirect supervision of the nursing associate when carrying out the procedure.
Registered nurses, nursing associates, midwives and physician associates must complete a recognised theoretical course followed by a period of supervised training as described in this guidance.”
For additional guidance and information, you can refer to the standards and guidance for healthcare professionals and managers working in the NHS CSP. You can also keep up to date with information on new publications and guidance via the PHE Screening blog and subscribe for new content alerts.
Cervical Cytology and Screening - further guidance
Please click on the above image to access our document that will signpost you to national guidance in relation to Cervical Cytology and Screening. As well as the information provided on this webpage there are links to further information on:-
- New Cervical Sampler Takers
- Information to be recorded by the trainee & examples of recording forms
- The trainee sample taker pin code
- Trained sample takers
- Returners to Sample taking
- Required update training for all cervical sample takers
- Role of the Registered Nursing Associates in Cervical Cytology Screening & HCAs
- Role of cervical cytology mentor and assessor
- Ceasing & deferring women from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme & the role of General Practice
- Vault Smear
- Patients with Learning Disabilities
Cervical Screening Administration Service
Following the successful Phase 1 transfer of the Cervical Screening Administration Service (CSAS) back to the NHS in August 2019, Phase 2 involved the allocation of a new telephone number, the staff relocation to NHS run buildings, and the move to working on NHS systems.
The new telephone number for CSAS is now 0300 124 0248; the postal address remains as PO Box 572, Darlington DL1 9AG.
The quickest and most efficient way of contacting CSAS is by completing this online form.
- Nominate a lead clinician in the practice for cervical cytology who need not be a GP but should be an individual who has performed a significant number of cervical smears and up to date with training.
- The identified lead should cascade relevant information to all relevant clinicians and administrators within the practice.
- All clinicians who perform cervical cytology should ensure they are up to date, maintain their skills, reflect on their inadequate rate and make changes as necessary.
- Training for all HCP professionals undertaking cervical screening should be appropriate and of high quality and meet with the national recommendations.
Training - Including Wessex LMCs Education & Training
Please contact Louise Greenwood at Wessex LMCs with any training or education queries.
We facilitate a range of face-to-face, on-line courses and Lunch and Learn sessions, the latter can be downloaded for learning within your practice team.
Cervical cytology assessor/trainer
Salisbury & South Wiltshire
Devizes, Westbury, Warminster
http://www.clinicaltrainingltd.co.uk/ until April 1st, 2021
https://pdinet.co.uk/ from April 1st, 2021
Hampshire & IOW
Wendy Lee http://www.clinicaltrainingltd.co.uk/
- BSW Locality training – Michael.Rose@wiltshire.gov.uk (PHE) & https://www.e-lfh.org.uk (free access)
- http://www.clinicaltrainingltd.co.uk/ - Clinical Training Ltd offers various cytology courses across the Wessex area. For further information call 07968 064685
- https://pdinet.co.uk/ - Professional Development International Training
- PDI’s cytology e-learning - Cytology update online module
- https://www.e-lfh.org.uk - eLearning for Health - online update for cytology
- RCGP - Cervical Screening Update (rcgp.org.uk)
- Southmead Hospital Bristol South West Cytology Training Centre (cytology-training.co.uk)
- BSW Locality training
Useful Links and Publications
GOV.UK (Update Feb 2020) - Cervical screening: cervical sample taker training
Cervical Screening - Colposcopy Management & Referral
Education pathway - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (Feb 2020)
NHS Screening Programmes - eLearning for Health for Health
Jo’s Trust – support for professionals
Skills for Health - Obtain cervical cytology samples from individuals
PHE Screening (March 2020) - Updated guidance on the training of cervical sample takers
Wessex LMCs – educational events