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10-01-2011 | General practice | Article

HPV testing included in cervical screening


NHS Cancer Screening Programmes

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing will be included in the NHS cervical screening programme from April this year, the government has confirmed.

HPV testing will be used for "HPV triage" of women with borderline or low-grade cervical abnormalities - so avoiding unnecessary repeat screening.

The government predicts that this will improve the efficiency and accuracy of the whole cervical screening programme.

Dr Tanya Levine, Programme Director and Consultant Cellular Pathologist at North-West London Hospitals NHS Trust, which took part in piloting the scheme, commented: "HPV testing has embedded really well into our screening programme and has had positive impact on the service we provide to patients. We have minimised unnecessary surveillance, while maintaining excellent diagnostic and treatment services."

Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes Professor Julietta Patnick said that incorporating HPV testing into the current screening programme will "significantly reduce the number of repeat cytology tests required" and "target our colposcopy services more effectively."

She continued: "This is an important development in our programme enabling us to screen women more effectively and efficiently, reducing unnecessary procedures and minimising any associated anxiety."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price