Cervical Screening


  • Cervical screening, also known as a smear test, looks for a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the cervix
  • The cervix is located at the top of the vagina

The smear test saves thousands of lives each year by helping to prevent cervical cancer

Importance of Screening

  • For a minority of women HPV can lead to cervical cancer
  • Attending screening can help identify this virus, meaning treatment can be started sooner if required. This is associated with better outcomes

Who should have a smear test?

  • Women between 25-49 are invited every 3 years; those aged 50-64 are invited every 5 years for cervical screening
  • The smear test is recommended:
    • even if you have had the HPV vaccination
    • whether or not you are sexually active
  • You cannot have the smear test if:
    • you are pregnant
    • within 12 weeks of childbirth
    • you have had a hysterectomy

Things to know before the test

  • You will be notified when you are due for a smear test, with guidance on how to book
  • It’s best to book a smear test for a time when you’re not on your period.
  • You can book at any time if you do not have periods
  • Do not use any creams on your vagina 2 days before your test
  • The smear test is usually done by a female nurse or doctor; you can also request this

What to expect during your appointment

  • The nurse or doctor will first confirm your details, e.g. your name and age. You may ask any questions you may have now or throughout.
  • Behind a screen, you’ll need to undress (waist down). Paper towel will be provided to put over you.
  • You will be asked to lie back on the bed, usually with your legs bent, feet together and knees apart.
  • Gently, a smooth, cylindrical speculum (see image) will be placed inside your vagina, using a small amount of lubricant.
  • A soft, small brush will be used to take a sample of cells from your cervix. This shouldn’t be painful, but may be slightly uncomfortable.
  • The speculum will be removed and you will be given privacy to get dressed.

Please note:

  • A chaperone can be requested
  • You may stop the test at any time
  • The test itself takes 1-2 minutes; the whole appointment may last 10 minutes
  • A longer appointment can be requested to ensure your comfort

After the test

  • You will get the result of your smear test in a letter, usually within a few weeks
  • The test shows if HPV is present
    • Occasionally, the sample is ‘inadequate’ and repeat screening is needed
  • If more tests are needed, these will be explained to you in your result letter

For more information, please visit:

You can book your screening test via NHS App

or by calling our Reception Team on 0121472 0129


To minimise your risk, the following measures are in place:

  • Staff will be asymptomatic
  • The healthcare professional will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) during your appointment
  • All surfaces patients come into contact with will be wiped down before and after each appointment
  • Social distancing measures will be in place
  • Appointment lengths will be approximately 10 minutes or less to minimise your exposure

To ensure the safety of our staff and other patients:

  • Efforts are made to minimise the number of people in the waiting room; please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible
  • Please wear a face covering
  • Please adhere to social distancing measures in the waiting room and around the practice
  • Please follow our one-way system
  • If you or anyone in your household develop symptoms of COVID-19, please re-arrange your appointment