HPV Vaccination

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HPV Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions



All girls aged 12 to 13 are offered HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. The vaccine protects against cervical cancer. It’s usually given to girls in year eight at schools in England.

According to Cancer Research UK, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under the age of 35. In the UK, 2,900 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer, that’s around eight women every day.

Around 970 women died from cervical cancer in 2011 in the UK. It’s estimated that about 400 lives could be saved every year in the UK as a result of vaccinating girls before they are infected with HPV.

The HPV vaccine is delivered largely through secondary schools and consists of three injections over a period of 12 months. In September 2014 this will be reduced to 2 vaccines spaced at least 6 months apart.

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.

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HPV Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

My patient falls outside the national campaign age range but wants to receive the vaccination. Can I prescribe on the NHS?

It is recognised that it may be good medical practice to prescribe for patients who fall outside the national campaign.  In this case the GP should clinically assess such patients considering the risks and benefits and make a decision whether the vaccination is clinically indicated.  If clinically indicated, then the vaccine must be provided on an FP10.

Can I prescribe Gardasil or Cervarix privately for patients who request it?

Following clinical assessment, if it is clinically indicated then you can proceed to prescribe on the NHS via an FP10.  To prescribe privately and charge patients contravenes GMS and PMS regulations as you either clinically determine that the patient needs it or doesn’t.  For those patients who are clinically assessed as not needing the vaccine but who insist on receiving it, you should suggest that they seek treatment at either a Private Hospital or Private clinic.

Can I set up a reciprocal arrangement with a nearby practice for patients requesting the HPV vaccination but who fall outside of the national programme so  that we can charge privately ?

No. If HPV vaccination is indicated for health reasons then directing patients to another GP as part of a reciprocal arrangement for private treatment is not permissible. .

Can I claim a personal administration fee for those patients vaccinated under the national HPV campaign?

No the full fee for administration is as set out in the local enhanced service.

Further reading:

NHS Choices:

Green Book:

Jo’s Trust, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity:

Changes to Cervical Cancer Screening Podcast

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