Armed Forces cervical screening services

Cervical screening services for serving members of the armed forces

On 1 April 2015, the responsibility for providing cervical screening services for serving members of the armed forces changed for most women. This ensures that eligible members of the armed forces get the same services as all other NHS patients in the UK and will have an automated call and recall system.

Patients should notice little or no change, except for minor changes in documentation or process, and should not be concerned if duplicate or unfamiliar forms from different hospitals are received. Samples will still be taken by Defence Primary Health Care (DPHC) staff in ministry of defence medical centres.

Information provided by NHS England is concerned primarily with those in England but the changes affect all serving women in the UK (and the rest of the world) in different ways:

  • Scotland – managed by NHS Scotland and further details can be found in the Screening Zone.
  • Wales, Northern Ireland and overseas – will continue sending samples to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwick (UHCW) NHS Trust using the Thinprep methodology. Further details for Wales screening is available online and details for Northern Ireland and overseas are available through the DPHC contacts.
  • England – will work with a local laboratory and not with UHCW (unless they are local to Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire area). The centres will follow the local sample taking protocols (Surepath or Thinprep) and send their samples to local laboratories.  The referral form (HMR101) should be automatically generated. Further details are available via NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

From 1 April 2015, the medical centres in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and overseas will use the NHS National Health Applications and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS)/Open Exeter (OE) call and recall system.  This will maintain (or increase) accuracy and timeliness for call and recall for patients and direct them to follow ups when this is required. The DMS Medical Centre Guide to using Open Exeter for Cervical Screening Call /Recall produced by PCS Preston office provides more detail.

Different parties will have different roles in the screening process and these are described in the governance slides. To summarise, these are:

  • The Defence Medical Services (DMS) will assure that there are suitable services for their employees wherever they are. They will also ensure that DPHC medical centres are trained and comply with local directions and carry out safe and effective:
    • call and recall of patients;
    • collection and distribution of samples.

Organisational roles and key contact points: