Updated NCSP policy and standards: providing a laboratory service

The review was driven by a service provider workshop followed by extensive local consultation and international peer review.
The National Cervical Screening Programme Policies and Standards Section 5: Providing a Laboratory Service has been through a major revision of targets and indicators.

The updated policies and standards are based on the review of cumulative national data and overseas trends to meet the current 100 percent liquid-based cytology environment along with automated assisted screening and high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.

Longer-term impacts of HPV vaccination on high grade (HSIL) rates were also considered. Six of the seven cytology laboratories are now using automated primary screening and the other is in the process of validation and conversion.

Key aspects of the changes are:

  • indicators for rates of cytology reporting of HSIL
  • unsatisfactory and false negative upgrade rates
  • reporting turnaround times for all tests
  • minimum and maximum workloads for cytology scientists and technicians
  • on-going educational activities and competency requirements.

The recently introduced individual external quality assurance programme for all cytology practitioners forms part of the policies and standards requirements. The NCSP will continue to review data to inform future modifications of policies and standards in line with changes that may be needed as a result of the impact of HPV vaccination on cervical screening.

View Section 5: Providing a Laboratory Service of the National Cervical Screening Programme Policies and Standards here.

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Page last updated: 30 October 2013