Cervical Smears

We offer cervical cancer screening at our surgery to all our female patients who are eligible. The Government recommends that all women between the ages of 25 and 64 have a cervical smear test every three to five years, depending on your age. The recommended screening interval is currently:

25 First invitation
25 – 49 3 yearly
50 – 64 5 yearly
65+ Only those who have not been screened since age 50 or have had recent abnormal tests

If a previous smear test has shown changes, or if you have had to have any treatment to your cervix, then you may be called more frequently.

If you have not had a recent smear test we can offer you one when you attend the surgery for other reasons. We will also write to you if we think you are overdue for a smear test. It is important you ensure that we have your correct name and address details to enable us to remind you when you are due for another smear test.

If you do not want to have a smear test please discuss this with your doctor or nurse so that we can answer any questions you may have. We may ask you to sign a form to say that you do not want to have a smear test, and then we will stop reminding you that you are overdue! Please also let us know if you have had your smear elsewhere (eg family planning clinic)

We have recently introduced a new way of taking smears (liquid based cytology) which means that the results come back much more quickly – usually less than a month – and there are less “inadequate samples”.

Cervical smears in Pregnancy

If you have had a smear within the last three years, and have never had any abnormal smears, then you can usually wait until after you have had your baby before having a routine smear.

If a previous test was abnormal, and in the interim you have become pregnant, then the test should not be delayed but should be taken in mid-pregnancy unless there is a clinical reason not to.

What the results mean


A negative result means that no abnormal cells have been seen. Your next smear will be in 3 years. If you have any abnormal bleeding, either mid-cycle or after intercourse, PLEASE DON’T WAIT for your next smear – report this to your Doctor immediately.


An inadequate/unsatisfactory result means that not enough cells were collected from your cervix for proper analysis, and the test needs to be repeated. We will contact you and ask you to make another appointment for a smear test. We try to keep the number of inadequate smears as low as possible, and recent changes in the way that we takes smears has helped in this.


An abnormal result means that there are changes that could cause problems in the future. t does NOT usually mean that you have cancer now.

When this happens we will either ask you to have another smear test in 3-6 months time, or refer you to the colposcopy clinic.

At the colposcopy clinic the cervix is examined with a powerful microscope and any abnormal area is removed.  This treatment is almost 100% effective.

If you do need to have a colposcopy, you are then advised to have annual smears for 3 or 5 years.

Useful Links

Cervical Cancer

NHS Cervical Screening Programme