Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Screening
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CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme was made available to the 1.1 million eligible women aged 25 to 60 on 1 September 2008. The programme provides free smear tests every three years to women aged 25 to 44. Following two consecutive ‘no abnormality detected’ results, women aged 45 to 60 are screened every five years.
Women can arrange an appointment to have a free smear test with a CervicalCheck registered smeartaker (doctor or practice nurse) of their choice at a time and date convenient for them. To date CervicalCheck has registered over 4,150 smeartakers (GPs, practice nurses and medical practitioners) in over 1,400 locations nationwide. Contact details for registered smeartakers can be viewed on the CervicalCheck website www.cervicalcheck.ie.
In general population-based screening programmes operate on an active call, recall system whereby the programme invites selected cohorts of the population for screening at specific times and recall them when their next smear test is due. To arrange a smear test a woman can contact a registered smeartaker of choice to make an appointment. Women who have availed of a CervicalCheck smear test since the start of the Programme on 1 September 2008 will be automatically re-called when their next smear test is due.
The National Screening Service (NSS) is responsible for the governance and management of colposcopy services as part of CervicalCheck. Colposcopy services as part of the programme are delivered through a multidisciplinary team approach and provide the facilities for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of women with an abnormal smear test result. The NSS has made a significant investment in the development of colposcopy services at 15 locations nationwide.
Smeartaker Training Unit
The CervicalCheck Smeartaker Training Unit has responsibility for the co-ordination and delivery of all smeartaker educational initiatives. Smeartaker training has been identified as critical in the provision of a quality assured cervical screening programme to eligible women in Ireland. The unit also facilitates learning through the organisation of clinical updates, and the development of related educational resources, including a Guide for Smeartakers and a training DVD.