New HPV implementation guidance for cervical screening providers

We have published new guidance for local cervical screening providers on implementing high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing as the programme’s primary screening test.

This builds on and replaces the short term mitigation guidance for providers implementing primary HPV screening to support cytology backlogs and the 14-day turnaround time standard, which means that all women should receive their screening result within 2 weeks of their test.

Image of the new primary HPV screening implementation guidance on GOV.UK on a laptop screen
The new primary HPV screening implementation guidance on GOV.UK

Major change

The implementation of primary HPV screening is a major change. It impacts on all elements of the programme and requires significant service redesign.

The new implementation guidance draws on experience from pilots. Providers should use the document to support the process of implementing primary HPV screening. This includes services implementing as part of NHS England’s resilience plans.

The implementation guidance covers:

  • roles and responsibilities
  • information for women
  • sample logistics
  • screening process
  • acceptable tests
  • quality assurance
  • training requirements
  • IT system changes
  • updated screening and colposcopy management protocols for women screened with primary HPV screening
  • service reconfiguration
  • centralisation of screening laboratories

Detailed guidance for laboratory and colposcopy providers will be published in due course.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.


  1. Comment by Sue Ogden posted on


    Are we able to have some idea of the expected % increase in referrals to colposcopy please?

  2. Comment by Cytologist posted on

    Are there going to be any reports/stats published from the pilot sites?

    • Replies to Cytologist>

      Comment by Andrew Anderson posted on

      The main findings from the HPV primary pilot are expected to be published in the next few days. Look out for our upcoming blog which will provide further information.


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