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Cervical Screening (Smear Test) Results Delays Posted on 20 Aug 2019

NHS England advise us that there are currently delays in people receiving the results from their cervical screen as part of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Letters are usually issued within 14 days of the original sample-taking appointment; however, people across England are currently experiencing longer waits due to ongoing changes within the programme.

Your sample may be screened for either abnormal cells (using liquid based cytology) or HPV due to ongoing changes in the programme. This is a temporary transition period and both are quality assured and effective screening methods, and does not affect the validity of the results. By January 2020, HPV primary screening will be carried out across England as part of the Cervical Screening Programme.

We have been asked to advise patients that there may be a delay in receiving results while the NHS moves to a new testing process as part of the Cervical Screening Programme. The delay in receiving their result is unlikely to cause or increase the risk of clinical harm and will also have no implications for any subsequent treatment that is required.

It is expected that the delays in people receiving the results of their screen will continue until HPV Primary Screening is fully implemented across England, due to be in December 2019.


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