Cervical screening

NHS Health Scotland works closely with NHS National Services Division and NHS Health Board Screening Co-ordinators to support professionals and the public with resources to promoting informed consent.

All women aged 20– 60 across Scotland are invited to have a cervical screening test every three years A set of leaflets are available to enable women are able to make an informed choice to attend their screening appointment. 

All the resources below are available in various languages and an easy read format.

The Cervical Screening Test: Put it on your list provides further information on the screening programme for all those eligible as well as answering frequently asked questions about the test and cervical cancer.

The Cervical Screening Test: Your first test provides information on the screening programme for those being invited for the first time.

The Cervical Screening Test: Information for Lesbian and Bisexual Women has been developed to address specific questions considered by lesbian and bisexual women.

The Cervical Screening Test: Your results explained provides information for women when a cervical smear test shows a non-routine result. It explains how non-routine smears are dealt with and contains tips and advice to reassure women.

The Cervical Screening Test - Information for women after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) at a colposcopy clinic. This leaflet provides information on screening tests after treatment for CIN.

Leaflets to support women with learning difficulties

Keep yourself healthy: do I need a smear test?
Keep yourself healthy: a guide to having a smear test is available to support people with learning disabilities and their carers.

Future changes to the age range and frequency for cervical screening

From 6 June 2016, the age range and frequency of cervical screening will change for routine screening to 3 yearly from age 25 and 5 yearly from age 50 to 64 (currently 3 yearly from 20-60 years). Women on non-routine screening will be invited up to the age of 70 years (a change from current arrangement of 68 years).

This change was announced by The Scottish Government on 11 December 2012 following the report of the Expert Review Group and in accordance with the recommendations of the National Screening Committee.

Please see professional question and answer guidance which clarifies the details of the service change and provides information to support the implementation of these changes. It will also assist practitioners in advising women who may be affected by the changes at their next cervical screening appointment and answering questions they may have about the changes.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls aged 11 to 13 years helps protect against cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is designed to protect against the two types of HPV that can cause over 70% cervical cancer cases. As it does not protect against all other types, regular cervical screening is important. This combination of immunisation and cervical screening offers the best possible protection against cervical cancer. The Immunisation Scotland website provides answers to questions about the HPV vaccine and includes a film with information on the HPV immunisation programme.

Updated January 2016

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