Cervical screening

TDL’s Cytology Laboratory provides a rapid service for liquid based cervical samples from all sectors of practice – health screening, occupational Health, GPs, consultants, colposcopy units, clinics, hospitals and other laboratories.

Since 2019, testing for high-risk subtypes of human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) has replaced cervical cytology (testing microscopically for abnormal cells from a PAP smear) as the first (primary test) in cervical screening. Cytology is undertaken as a triage if HPV is detected. 

HPV testing is therefore carried out as a single, first line test, with a single result reported as Detected/Not Detected.

  • If HR-HPV is Negative (Not Detected) – no further testing is needed for your patient: she returns to Routine Recall.
  • If HR-HPV is Positive (Detected) – Cytology will be processed from the same ThinPrep Vial. A further specimen is not required.
  • If the Cytology result from this sample is HR-HPV Not Detected – the patient Recall will be determined by the screening history and will either be a repeat HR-HPV test in 12 months’ time or, if HR-HPV remains persistent, a referral to colposcopy.
  • If the Cytology result from this sample is Abnormal, the recommendation is to refer this patient for Colposcopy.

Since 1st January 2019 all TDL requests for HPV have been processed as follows:

  • If HPV is requested as a single test, and the result is Negative/Not Detected, cervical cytology (PAPT) will only be processed if specifically requested. The PAPT would be charged as an additional test.
  • If HPV result is Detected, cervical cytology (PAPT) will be processed, even if not requested. The PAPT cervical sample will NOT be charged additionally.
  • If cervical cytology (PAPT) is requested, HPV will always be processed with the PAPT. The PAPT will be charged.