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Cervical screening failsafe updated

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Cervical Screening Programme
A thick chain to illustrate the point about keeping all the various parts strong.
Failsafe prevents breaks in the screening pathway and helps ensure patient safety if something goes wrong

If you work in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme you'll be familiar with failsafe procedures and how important they are in maintaining standards.

Screening is a complicated business with lots of different professionals involved and these processes are designed to prevent or reduce the risk of things going wrong.

Over the last few months we've been working hard to update and improve the existing failsafe guidelines and screening services need to be aware of the updated requirements in the latest version.

The failsafe process

Failsafe processes make sure that as far as possible the cervical screening programme takes the correct action following a cervical screening test, or that a valid reason for not taking that action is known and recorded.

The effective monitoring of failsafe requires documentation of:

  • the point at which a required screening activity is started
  • the point at which it is concluded

This is usually via a failsafe systematic process or an IT system.

In addition, providers should have local protocols to ensure that all processes close within an appropriate timescale.

Who this affects

Responsibility for failsafe lies with GPs, cervical screening laboratories, commissioners, colposcopy clinics and sample takers.

As well as detailing the responsibilities of each, the failsafe guidance aims to help avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

It is really important to ensure appropriate action is taken to make sure that the right people are invited and that those with abnormal test results are followed up correctly.

We would like to thank the members of the cervical screening task and finish group for their excellent advice and support in updating this guidance including Philippa Pearmain, Andrea Pearson, Karen Burgess, Kirsty Wenzel, Mary Burke, Lorraine Harding, Janet Parker, Lyn Jenkins, John Crossley, Carina Hume, John Rodriguez and Sharon Whitehurst.

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  1. Comment by Elisha Thom posted on

    The link to register for updates is not a valid link

    • Replies to Elisha Thom>

      Comment by Andrew Anderson posted on

      Dear Elisha
      Many thanks for bringing this to our attention. The blog subscription link has now changed. It is now
      Apologies for the confusion. We'll be sure to use the updated link from now on.
      Best wishes
      Information and Education for Public and Professionals (IEPP) team
      PHE Screening