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First cervical screening annual standards report published

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Front cover of cervical screening standards report
The report focuses on cervical screening performance in England

PHE Screening is delighted to publish its first annual data report on the national cervical screening programme standards.

The standards were updated and published in September 2018. This report focuses on performance in England from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 but also includes trend data from previous years where this is available.

These standards support the assessment of the quality of the cervical screening programme across England. Publishing the data makes sure providers, commissioners, the public and other stakeholders have access to reliable and timely information on quality and performance.

The standards set out some of the important goals commissioners and providers have to meet and maintain to make sure local screening services are high quality, safe and effective.

For the first time, data has been published on detailed laboratory and colposcopy clinical standards. This includes cervical cytology laboratory sensitivity (standard S04) and the follow-up of individuals treated in colposcopy (standard S09).

Where data shows standards are not met or there are data collection issues, the provider and commissioners should make sure appropriate action is taken to address the issue.  PHE’s Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) provides advice and supports this process.

The data in this report complements that published jointly by NHS Digital and PHE Screening in the annual cervical screening statistical bulletin for 2018 to 2019.

Thank you to all those involved within PHE Screening who have contributed to the development and publication of this report and all cervical screening staff for their continued hard work and dedication.

Looking to the future

The cervical screening programme is in the middle of the biggest change since its introduction in 1988 with the move to primary screening using human papilloma virus (HPV) testing. By the end of December 2019, the whole of England will have moved to HPV testing as the primary screening test.

This means data collection and the standards used to assess the quality and performance of the programme need to be updated to reflect the pathway.

Work is well under way collecting data on HPV testing to inform new standards and developing methods for analysing and reporting performance in the future. We plan to publish updated standards for the HPV primary screening pathway during 2020.

PHE Screening blogs

The PHE Screening blog provides 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.

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