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Independent sector cervical screening

Primary care colleagues have raised concerns regarding cervical cytology testing at independent facilities i.e. "private smear tests". Cervical cytology samples undertaken in the IndependentSector are not part of the national screening programme. Colleagues felt it would be helpful if GPs/practices were made aware of the issue.

All eligible women (aged from 25-64) will automatically receive their invitation letter from the Primary Care Support (England), formerly called the 'Call/Recall Agency' to attend for screening. Women who have cervical samples taken outside the NHS cervical screening programme may contact their GP to say that they have had cervical cytology done privately. The GP/practice should then advise the woman that her private cervical cytology test results are not captured in the NHS screening programme and that she is eligible for her routine test and should attend for this.

However, please be aware that there should be a 3 month interval between any private sample and one taken as part of the NHSCSP to ensure an adequate sample has been taken.


(Last reviewed November 16th 2017)