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New cervical screening guidance on call and recall administration published

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Cervical Screening Programme
Image shows woman reading cervical screening appointment letter. You can just see the NHS logo on the top of the piece of paper..
The administration service supporting the NHS Cervical Screening Programme produces and sends out 9 million letters each year

PHE Screening is pleased to announce the publication of our new guidance, ‘Cervical screening call and recall: a guide to administration best practice’. This is a comprehensive revision of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme Good Practice Guide No.18, published in 2017.

We identified the need to update the guidance following developments in the programme. These included the roll out of primary HPV screening and the transfer of administration functions to the NHS Cervical Screening Administration Service (CSAS).

We developed the content in line with programme requirements. It clearly sets out the expectations of the call and recall service, including:

  • details of the call and recall function
  • programme governance
  • information governance principles
  • informed choice and consent
  • eligibility inclusion criteria
  • prior notification lists
  • invitations, reminders and non-responders
  • sample process and reporting

Call and recall process featured in the new guidance

The timeline of the call and recall screening pathway from start to finish. People moving through the pathway will be added to the PNL, closed in PNL, have a next test due date issued, receive a reminder, and then will have a non responder status set if they do not attend. The whole process can take 36 weeks.
Our timeline shows the call and recall process from start to finish

The guidance covers the call and recall pathway in detail. It describes the call and recall cycle from identifying individuals eligible for cervical screening through to the management of abnormal results.

The National Health Application and Infrastructure Service (NHAIS) is due to be replaced with a new call and recall IT system. The updated guidance was developed with this in mind. We’ve worked to future proof the guidance as much as possible.

If your work is associated with cervical screening, and especially with call and recall, then this updated guidance is highly relevant. It will be of particular interest to:

  • GP practice staff
  • call and recall service staff
  • laboratory staff
  • cervical screening programme leads
  • screening and immunisation teams within NHS England

Collective hard work

Leading this project was a development opportunity for me and drew on my knowledge of call and recall services. It was a pleasure for me to work with some former colleagues to lead on the updating of the call and recall guidance.

We would like to thank the call and recall task and finish group, with representation from PHE, NHS Digital, CSAS, NHS England and NHS Improvement. They have tirelessly reviewed and updated the guidance and sought further expert advice as necessary.

PHE Screening blog

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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