About Cervical Screening Wales

The aim of Cervical Screening Wales (CSW) is to ensure that cervical screening is delivered in a consistent manner across Wales, according to national published standards and, in particular, that all eligible women receive the same level of service and quality care for the same level of need. For the first time there is a single cervical screening programme across Wales, with uniform policies, standards and protocols.

CSW is managed, like Breast Test Wales, by Velindre NHS Trust. The service covers the whole of the cervical screening programme provided to women resident in Wales, by both Welsh and English NHS Trusts, including:

  • programme management and coordination
  • call and recall arrangements
  • cervical cytology services
  • cervical histology services
  • colposcopy services

The responsibility for the taking of smears within the programme will remain with general practices and appropriate community and hospital clinics.

Aims of the Cervical Screening Programme

The aim of the cervical screening programme is to reduce the incidence of, and morbidity and mortality from, invasive cervical cancer. However, screening also has the potential to cause both physical and psychological harm to women invited. It is essential that this harm is minimised, so that the benefits of screening outweigh the costs. A balance must be struck between maximising effectiveness and minimising harm.

The Eligible Population

The target age group for cervical screening is women aged 20 to 64.

Key messages for women

  • Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It detects possible abnormalities, or changes in the cells, which may develop into cancer if they are not treated.
  • Almost all abnormalities are successfully treated.
  • The examination of cervical smears is a highly skilled process. Like most medical tests it is not 100% accurate. However, having a regular smear test means that an abnormality is less likely to remain undetected.
  • Most results are normal - no abnormal cells were found. No further investigations are needed but you should continue to attend for routine smear tests when invited.
  • A normal result means that no abnormality was detected at that time but is not a guarantee that no abnormalities exist.
  • If you ever have irregular or unusual bleeding or discharge tell your GP, even if you have had a recent negative smear test.

pdf file Milestones in cervical screening (PDF file 48KB)