1 – Prior Notification Lists (PNL)

CSAS provides Prior Notification Lists (PNLs) to GP practices either hardcopy via post or electronically via Open Exeter approximately 10 weeks before patients’ cervical screening tests are due.

2 – Review PNL

Practices need to review the PNLs and identify any patients who shouldn’t be screened.

Please use the PNL guide to help GP practices access and update ePNLs and Non Responders on Open Exeter.

GP Practices can delay screening due to the patient:

  • Being pregnant
  • Having had a recent test
  • Currently under cytological follow-up

Women can be removed from the screening programme:

  • By informed choice – a signed Disclaimer form is required
  • If they are aged over 65
  • If they have no cervix
  • Under the Mental Capacity Act
  • If they are undergoing radiotherapy

3 – Notify CSAS of Cease or Defer

Practices should submit Cease and Deferral requests via Open Exeter to CSAS before the cut off shown on the Open Exeter Prior Notification List (PNL) to avoid inappropriate invitations.

Women can be ceased via Open Exeter for reasons of: Age or No Cervix.

They can be deferred for: Recent test, current pregnancy, patient wish to defer or under treatment relevant to screening.

In line with guidance published in the ‘NHS cervical screening call and recall: guide to administrative good practice’ the GP practice must specify how long the deferral is for in multiples of 6 months, up to a maximum time of 18 months. So, a woman may be postponed for 6, 12 or 18 months at any one time. Please ensure the deferral period does not exceed 18 months.

For any other reason to cease or defer, which you are unable to submit via Open Exeter, a cease or deferral form should be completed.

The forms should be submitted via the online enquiry form, which can be found on our Contact Us page.

Ceasing from the Cervical Screening Programme
Ceasing from the Cervical Screening Programme - Mental Capacity Act (MCA)
Informed Consent for withdrawal from the Cervical Screening Programme
- This form should be completed once the helping you decide leaflet has been read by the participant and they still wish to withdraw from the programme.
Reinstate into Cervical Screening Programme
Cervical Screening Programme Deferral

To submit the form using the on-line process, please follow these steps:

  • Select the appropriate form by clicking on the blue link above, download and open the document
  • Click "Enable Editing" at the top highlighted in yellow
  • Details may be typed onto the forms in the editable spaces*
  • Where a wet signature is required, please ensure this is captured on the form
  • Go to the Contact Us page and select ‘Screening – Cease/Reinstate/Defer’ from the drop-down menu under enquiry type
  • Select the category type and complete the mandatory fields for your request
  • Upload the relevant form, signed as required
  • Submit the request

You will then receive confirmation that the request has been received.

When a practice notifies us that a woman should be ceased from the PNL, a marker is set on NHAIS and we will cancel the patient from the Call/Recall programme. The practice will then receive a Cease notification via Open Exeter.

*Please note: The forms are locked and allow specific fields only to be edited to ensure they remain standardised across the service. Once completed, please print off forms requiring wet signatures and once signed, scan and upload the form for submission as outlined above. Those forms where an electronic signature is permitted may be completed electronically, saved, and uploaded for submission as outlined above.

4 - Screening invitations and reminders

CSAS posts out screening invitation letters to patients approximately six weeks before the test is due. Reminder letters will be sent approximately 18 weeks after the first invitation letter, where no test has been received.

5 - Sample taking

Tests are completed at the GP practice. The sample taker should use the pre-populated HMR101 form agreed in your area which can be accessed through your clinical system or via Open Exeter. When using Open Exeter please ensure you print the HMR101 –A5(2009) version, which provides the woman’s last 12 results on the form, making it easier and quicker for the lab to produce accurate results.

Sample takers should validate the woman’s address at the time of the test to ensure that result letters can be sent directly to the patient.

6 – Result letters

CSAS receives electronic files of patient results from laboratories daily. We then send out result letters to the patient according to result code, action code and repeat months as recommended by the laboratory.

All women must receive the cervical screening results within 14 days of having the test. If a result is abnormal, patients are sent a Direct Referral to Colposcopy. The GP Practice will also be notified of an abnormal result and Direct Referral to Colposcopy recommendation. Patients should contact their GP Practice / the number on the referral letter to organise a colposcopy appointment.