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Vaginal vault samples

Women who need vaginal vault cytology following surgery are no longer included in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. The latest national recommendation supported by the North West SQAS is that vault cytology should be performed at colposcopy and therefore women requiring this should be referred to colposcopy or remain at colposcopy until all necessary vault samples have been taken.

The laboratory will reject any vault samples taken in primary care as part of the sample acceptance policy

Cervical screening reports: generation and distribution

Reports are made available to the sample taker (and the GP if the sample has been taken somewhere other than the GP surgery). Primary Care Support Services (Preston) also receive a copy of the report to update the cervical screening history on the Exeter system.

The laboratory issues electronic reports to GPs/sample takers and electronic reports to the screening agencies. By the end of 2016 we intend to phase out paper copy reports for all but CASH services.

Urgent referrals for further investigation

Any test reported as suspected invasive carcinoma or suspected cervical glandular neoplasia requires urgent referral to colposcopy via the direct referral process. The laboratory will contact the sample taker by phone to discuss the result. A failsafe system is in place to ensure that the report has been received prior to the patient appearing on the direct referral notification to PCSS (Preston) and colposcopy.

14-day turnaround

The laboratory aims to report at least 98% of tests within 7 days from receipt of the sample. This in turn supports the 14-day turnaround standard.


The cytology department participates in the Trust audit programme and has a rolling programme of audit

Feedback on inadequate cytology reports and rejected samples

The laboratory is now responsible for giving feedback to practices on the inadequate rates for the practice and their individual sample takers as well as the number of samples rejected under the sample acceptance policy. Reports will be issued at 6-monthly intervals.


(Last updated March 30th 2016)