Cervical screening

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme has made a significant impact on cervical cancer mortality since it was established in 1988, saving an estimated 5,000 lives a year. However, coverage is at a 20-year low. Figures published by NHS Digital show that, at 31 March 2018, the percentage of eligible women (aged 25 to 64) screened adequately was 71.4%.

To help address this issue, in March 2019 PHE launched its first national multimedia cervical screening campaign. The campaign will:

  • highlights the risks of cervical cancer
  • highlights the preventative benefits of the often misunderstood screening test
  • encourages women of all ages to respond to their screening invitation
  • encourages women to consider booking an appointment if they have missed previous invitations
  • aims to tackle issues of fear and embarrassment

To access up to date information on signs, symptoms and treatment guidance click on the links below:

Key links –

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:  NICE guideline   https://cks.nice.org.uk/cervical-screening#!scenario

Public Health England (2016b) NHS Cervical Screening Programme Guidance for the training of cervical sample takers. Public Health England. www.gov.uk [Free Full-text] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577158/NHS_Cervical_Screening_Progamme_-_guidance_for_cervical_sample_takers.pdf

Public Health England (2019) Cervical screening: primary HPV screening implementation – This guidance is to aid local providers of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in implementing high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing.


Public Health England (2019) – Having a smear test – An easy guide about a health care test for women aged 25-64 (PHE publications gateway number GW-296) England (2019) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/790791/CSP05_an_easy_guide_to_cervical_screening.pdfuidance

S https://cks.nice.org.uk/cervical-screening#!referencesupporting women with learning i

Jo’s Trust www.jostrust.org.uk

Additional resources:

Cervical screening: leaflet for women considering screeningThis leaflet is sent to all women invited for NHS cervical screening. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/710741/Cervical_screening_helping_you_decide.pdf

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/?gclid=CKTDxPWY_eECFQqPGwodchwDvA https://cks.nice.org.uk/cervical-screening

Department of Health and Social care (2018) HPV vaccine to be given to boys in England. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hpv-vaccine-to-be-given-to-boys-in-england