Cervical screening: professional guidance

Standards and guidance for healthcare professionals, managers and commissioners working in the NHS cervical screening programme.

Liquid based cytology (LBC)

Programme management


The NHS CSP Audit of Invasive Cervical Cancers is available from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine website. The site includes the most recent audit, plus older versions.

Laboratory standards and quality assurance

A practical bench aid for use by lab staff reporting histological specimens taken after abnormal cytological or colposcopic results is available in CD format from Harlow Printing Limited.

  1. Cervical screening: laboratory testing for human papillomavirus
  2. Cervical screening: approved HPV tests for HPV triage and test of cure
  3. Cervical screening: cytology samples external quality assessment
  4. Cervical screening: gynaecological cytopathology external quality assessment
  5. Cervical screening: histopathology reporting handbook
  6. Cervical screening: cytology improvement guide
  7. Cervical screening: laboratory organisation
  8. Cervical screening: BD FocalPoint Slide Profiler
  9. Cervical screening: ergonomic working standards
  10. Cervical screening: accepting samples in laboratories

Colposcopy equipment reports

Primary care

Cervix chart for sample takers

A chart available on a one per room basis, for nurses and GPs taking cervical screening samples. Order here (electronic copy not available).

Human papillomavirus (HPV) screening

The NHS cervical screening programme is currently running a pilot on human papilloma virus (HPV) primary screening.

Professionals involved in the pilot should use these guidance documents.

Published 1 February 2004
Last updated 16 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added new guidance: the role of the cervical screening provider lead.
  2. Added supporting women with learning disabilities guidance to primary care section.
  3. Added programme specific operating model.
  4. Added Cervical screening: cervical sample taker training.
  5. Added National external quality assessment (EQA) scheme for the preparation and staining of cervical liquid based cytology samples: scheme protocol.
  6. Added Cervical screening: training to use a new cytology system.
  7. Added Cervical screening: gynaecological cytopathology external quality assessment to the collection.
  8. First published.