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 promote informed consent.

All women aged 25-64 across Scotland are invited to have a cervical screening test every three years from age 25-49 and every five years from age 50-64. A set of leaflets is available to enable women to make an informed choice to attend their screening appointment. 

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

A Smear Test Could Save Your Life provides further information on the screening programme for all those eligible as well as answering frequently asked questions about the test and cervical cancer. 

Your Smear Test Results provides information about the results of your smear test, how they will be monitored and any treatment you may need.

Your Smear Test After Treatment provides information about what will happen after your cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) treatment.

A cervical screening poster encouraging women to take up their smear test invitation is also available. 

Cervical Screening Toolkit

A toolkit of resources and information has been developed to help professionals raise awareness and increase uptake of cervical screening in their local area.

Recent changes to the age range and frequency for cervical screening

The age range and frequency of cervical screening has changed for routine screening to 3-yearly from age 25 and 5-yearly from age 50 to 64. It was previously 3-yearly from 20 to 60 years old. 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 June 2016

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