1. Have invitations been sent out for cervical screening in North Central London? Yes, from the 6th June women in North Central London started to receive their cervical screening invitations. However, in order to support providers to respond due to the impact of COVID 19, the intervals at which invitations and reminder letters are issued have been extended. Invitations have been issued 12 weeks (rather than the usual 4) after the prior notification lists were sent to practices and reminder letters will be sent 30 weeks after the initial invite rather than the usual 18.
2. Appointments affected because of COVID-19 and Non-responders You should review your local records to identify individuals whose screening may have been affected by COVID-19 (cancelled screening appointments or no available appointments because of the pandemic), contact them about their screening, giving them an opportunity to attend. There will be a cohort of people who received reminder letters before COVID-19, but were unable to book an appointment. These individuals will not receive any further correspondences from the cervical screening programme and therefore deemed “non – responders” (non – responders are individuals who have not responded to their first invitation letter 32 weeks after it was sent). Practices should review their non – responder notification lists and contact these individuals, confirming that cervical screening appointments are now available and where necessary book an appointment. Guidance on how to access the non – responder notification lists can be found here https://www.csas.nhs.uk/support/pnl-guide. Research conducted by Jo’s Trust found that 1 in 8 women feel they are less likely to attend their appointment now than they would have been before the pandemic. When inviting women for screening it’s important for practice staff to highlight the measures that have been put in place to keep them safe during their appointment.
3. Has the laboratory been notified that invitations have been sent to women and how will samples be collected by the laboratory? Yes, NHS England has notified the laboratory and they are prepared for an increase in samples. Practices no longer need to contact the laboratory for courier collections, the courier collection schedule has reverted back to pre COVID arrangements.
4. Is there guidance on what level of PPE I should wear? Yes, practices should follow the guidance released by Public Health England for primary care. Cervical screens are not deemed aerosol generating procedures, therefore direct patient care PPE guidance should be followed e.g. single use disposable gloves, single use disposable plastic apron, single or sessional use fluid resistant (TYPE IIR) surgical mask and a single or sessional use eye/face protection.