Changes to the Age Range and Frequency of Cervical Screening
From 06 June 2016 changes to the age range and frequency of screening offered by the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme will be implemented.
For more information please follow the link below to access the Q&A paper developed by the Change in Age Range and Frequency (CARAF) communications group
Cervical screening has proven to be an effective method of reducing the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer. Screening provides a test that involves checking cells in the cervix (neck of the womb) and a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test, where appropriate. The test is designed to pick up any changes so that they can be simply and effectively monitored or treated. Without treatment the changes can sometimes develop into cervical cancer.
Cervical screening is routinely offered every three years to women aged between 25 and 49 years of age and every 5 years to women aged between 50 and 64. Women on non-routine screening (where screening results have shown changes that require further investigation/follow up) will be invited up to age 70 years.
Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year and prevents 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing.
Since 30 April 2012 as part of the Test of Cure pathway, women who have had treatment for CIN in Scotland will be tested for HPV at their next cervical screening test. This normally takes place six months after treatment. Women who have a test that shows normal cervical cells and no HPV (HPV negative) six months after treatment for CIN can return to routine three yearly screening.
For more public information on the cervical screening programme and the link between cervical cancer and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) please click the link to the external NHS Inform Screening Scotland Website and then the link to the Cervical Screening section.
Achievable standards, Benchmarks for reporting, and Criteria for evaluating cervical cytopathology (ABC)
The third version of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) Publication 1, Achievable standards, Benchmarks for reporting, and Criteria for evaluating cervical cytopathology (ABC), has been reviewed and an addendum has been developed describing processes and procedures that vary between NHSCSP and the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme. This addendum should therefore be used from 01 April 2013 in conjunction with and as a supplement to NHSCSP Publication 1, Third Edition, January 2013. Please select the following link for the addendum.
Colposcopy and Programme Management
The second version of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) Publication 20, Colposcopy and Programme Management, has been reviewed and an addendum has been developed describing exceptions to the publication that are applicable to the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme. This addendum (updated to reflect changes to result categories applicable from 01 April 2013) should therefore be used from 01 October 2011 in conjunction with and as a supplement to NHSCSP Publication 20, Second Edition, May 2010. Please select the following link for the addendum, which includes a link to the NHSCSP Publication. Please see the Smear Taker section for guidance for Smear Takers.
Scottish Cervical Call Recall System SCCRS
SCCRS is the central IT system, implemented in May 2007, which supports the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme. The SCCRS application, accessible by over 18,000 users over the secure NHS network, offers a single Scotland-wide database to support the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme. It is used by a wide range of NHS staff including General Practitioners, Nurses, Family Planning Consultants, Colposcopists. Gynaecologists, Laboratory scientists, Cytopathologists, Virologists, Consultants in Public Health Medicine and Call / Recall Office staff. SCCRS facilitates electronic screening test requesting and results reporting. Significant benefits are the instant availability of clinical information at the point of patient care and notification of screening test results to women. Access to the SCCRS application and User Sections are available to NHS professionals over a secure NHSnet connection:
Cervical Cytology EQA Scheme
The NHS Scotland Cervical Cytology EQA Scheme is a specialist service funded by NSD. From 2012 the scheme has two components:
- Interpretive Assessment
- Educational Slide Circulation
The aims of the EQA Scheme are to:
- Contribute towards the establishment and upholding of minimum national standards in the cervical cytology.
- Promote consistence in reporting across the country.
- Facilitate continuing education and professional development within laboratories by providing regular access to interesting and relevant cytological material.
- Enhance the experience and confidence of cervical cytopathology staff in their reporting practice.
- Assist in meeting accreditation standards relating to EQA.
EQA Participant Guidance Manual
Standard Operating Procedures
Cervical Cytology Training School
The Scottish Cytology Training School is a specialist service with relevant elements funded by NSD.
NHS Lothian provides a variety of training and continuing professional development courses ranging from Introductory to Advanced Practitioner Courses for relevant laboratory staff involved in the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme. These courses can also accommodate screening staff from out with NHS Scotland and are run from two centres, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and South Glasgow Hospital. The Training School has again achieved full approval status as a cytology training centre.
National Services Division contacts:
To contact members of NSD staff, please visit our staff contacts page.
Isabel Zaman, Senior Commissioning and Screening Programme Manager
Lesley Bogan, Programme Support Officer