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Cytology Training

Updated on 06 August 2015, 1064 views

All clinicians who performed cervical cytology should ensure they are up to date and maintain their skills and this is for the individual to evaluate using the inadequate rate as a guide but should not be simply decided by the total number of smears taking in any given period of time.

Previously many commissioners and the national screening committee were insisting on mandatory 3 year training. In December 2011 a letter from Dame Barbara Hakin (National Managing Director of Commissioning Development) clarified this situation and in particular, the last paragraph which is reproduced below:

Commissioners are not able to stipulate mandatory training for GPs eg. smears.

The GMS arrangements do not allow commissioners to set mandatory requirements for training.  As part of their clinical governance processes, GP practices should ensure that GPs, and others who take cervical smear samples, have the competences necessary to undertake them.  Commissioners should monitor the quality of services provided, and take action if there is evidence of problems.  These are principles that apply to the range of training issues relating to GPs and GP practices, and are in line with an outcomes based approach to commissioning, contracting and monitoring.

You can download the full letter here: Cervical cytology training for GPs, letter from Dame Barbara Hakin 15/12/11

Letter to Chaand Nagpul from NHS England

The BMA's view was that this also applied to nurses, and the DH has now confirmed that they agree with our interpretation, as the letter is about the principles which apply to services provided as part of the contract, whether these services are provided by GPs or others employed by practices such as practice nurses.