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New NHS Cervical Screening system to launch in October

by Jess Hacker
11 August 2021

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The current cervical screening call/recall system will be replaced by a new management system in two months, NHS Digital has confirmed.

Commissioned by NHSX and developed by NHS Digital, the new NHS Cervical Screening Management System will be introduced at the end of October 2021.

The switchover from the old service is expected to start overnight on Friday 29 October and will be completed by midnight 1 November.

The new service will ‘link to the NHS Spine’ and the NHS Personal Demographics Service: the national electronic database of NHS patient details.

This will improve the accuracy of certain data, like current addresses, reducing delays in the call/recall programme, it said.

It added that the new navigation system will allow staff to track a screening participant’s screening history more easily, reducing some administrative workload.

It will also be accessible via web browser and smartcard, replacing the need to use Open Exeter, it said.

NHS Digital said it will offer webinars and user guides to staff, with a series of role specific demonstration webinars taking place throughout October.

However, it encouraged practice managers to review their current cervical screening protocols, with a particular focus on their smartcard policy and new-starter induction processes.

‘Some impact’ on PNLs

The phased transition this autumn will prevent the loss of data, but GP practice administrators ‘will experience some impact’ as a result, NHS Digital warned.

Specifically, Prior Notification Lists (PNLs) – the list of patients who are due for cervical screening and is sent to the practice by the screening programme – will be published as usual until 23.59 hours on Monday 27 September.

Practices will then have until 25 October to review their lists and confirm any removals to the Cervical Screening Administration Service (CSAS).

The PNL process will then resume with the introduction of the new system, with the introduction of daily updates to the PNL list, it said.

Earlier this year, NHSE began piloting home self-sampling kits among 31,000 people across 166 GP practices in London in an attempt to boost screening.

Meanwhile, a recent analysis found that the number of young people attending cervical screening tests at their GP practice increased by 19% in line with a national uptake campaign.

Despite this, a recent study found that only 7% of transgender men preferred to have a cervical screening at their GP practice, with many citing concerns around staff’s attitudes as a barrier.