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Direct referral to colposcopy and failsafe

The laboratory has well-established systems of direct referral to all the colposcopy units in Lancashire and Cumbria. It provides details of the test result to allow efficient allocation of appointments based on the cytology grade to ensure women at highest risk get the earliest appointments.

Women who are suspected of having cancer as a result of their cervical screening test are fast-tracked through the referral process. The laboratory notifies the woman's GP immediately of any cases reported as possible invasive carcinoma or possible cervical glandular neoplasia and the patient is directly referred from the laboratory.

Suspected non-cervical glandular neoplasia

The department has a separate protocol for the referral of suspected glandular abnormalities of non-cervical origin. This involves contacting the GP or sample taker prior to authorising the report to discuss the result and explain that an urgent referral to gynaecology is required and this is to be made by the GP as the patient will receive a 'normal result' letter from the call/recall agency. Actions are audited on a proforma.

Cervical screening audit proforma

Failsafe procedures for colposcopy

Colposcopy failsafe procedures are triggered if the patient does not make an appointment, or keep an appointment. A second appointment is offered by the colposcopy unit and if the patient DNAs, she is referred back to her GP or the sample taker.

Laboratory failsafe for colposcopy referrals

All colposcopy referrals are covered by laboratory failsafe procedures and an enquiry letter is generated in the event that a colposcopy outcome is not notified to the laboratory within the predetermined timescales. It is important that sample takers are aware that they still have overall responsibility for ensuring the patient attends colposcopy, even when direct referral is in operation and they should respond accordingly when a failsafe enquiry letter is sent. Any cases where an outcome is not available are notified to the Screening and Immunisation Team and the Hospital Based Programme Co-ordinator at the Manchester Cytology Centre.


(Last updated March 30th 2016)