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Cervical Cytology - Keeping up to date

As a doctor registered with the GMC, you are required to keep up to date and maintain your skills in all clinical aspects of general practice.  It is your professional obligation to make a judgement about what training you need to undertake to do this, and you should be able to defend this in Court if necessary.  One could argue that if you were required to attend training for cervical cytology, you should do so for every area of clinical practice, and if this were the case, we would end up being unable to see patients because we would be spending most of our time on training updates.

The LMC's advice is as follows:

Previously many commissioners and the national screening committee were insisting on mandatory 3 year training. In December 2011 a letter from Dame Barbara Hakin (National Managing Director of Commissioning Development) clarified this situation and in particular, the last paragraph which is reproduced below:

Commissioners are not able to stipulate mandatory training for GPs eg. smears.

The GMS arrangements do not allow commisioners to set mandatory requirements for training.  As part of their clinical governance processes, GP practices should ensure that GPs, and others who take cervical smear samples, have the competences necessary to undertake them.  Commissioners should monitor the quality of services provided, and take action if there is evidence of problems.  These are principles that apply to the range of training issues relating to GPs and GP practices, and are in line with an outcomes based approach to commissioning, contracting and monitoring.

You can download the full letter here: Cervical cytology training for GPs, letter from Dame Barbara Hakin 15/12/11

The BMA's view was that this also applied to nurses, and the DH has now confirmed that they agree with our interpretation, as the letter is about the principles which apply to services provided as part of the contract, whether these services are provided by GPs or others employed by practices such as practice nurses.

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Updated on 01 October 2015 3565 views