Guidance

Cervical screening: guidelines on the content of letters and leaflets

NHSCSP Publication No 27: improving the quality of the written information sent to women about cervical screening.

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Improving the quality of the written information sent to women about cervical screening: guidelines on the content of letters and leaflets

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Women should be informed that having cervical screening at the recommended interval provides a low risk status rather than a no risk status of developing cervical cancer.

A copy of the NHSCSP leaflet ‘Cervical Screening – The Facts’ must be sent with all screening invitation letters.

All women who have a cervical screening test should receive their test results in writing. It is the responsibility of the GP or other clinician requesting the cytology screening test to ensure that there is a system in place (this may be the routine call and recall system administered by primary care organisations).

All women who have a cervical screening test should be told when they should expect to receive their test results. More than 80% of women who have a cervical screening test should receive their test result within 4 weeks of the date of the screening test, and 100% of women should receive their test result within 6 weeks of the date of the screening test.

A copy of the NHSCSP leaflet ‘What Your Abnormal Result Means’ should be sent with all abnormal result letters.

It is not appropriate to use a standard result letter to notify a women of a test result that has a recommendation of urgent referral for colposcopy. A woman with a test result of severe dyskaryosis, invasive or glandular neoplasia should be given her result on a personal basis in a manner that is appropriate for her individual circumstances.

All women referred for colposcopy should receive a personalised letter of invitation and an information leaflet before their first colposcopy visit.

A copy of the NHSCSP leaflet ‘The Colposcopy Examination’ should be sent with all colposcopy invitation letters.

Published 1 December 2006