Scottish Cervical Screening Programme
Cervical screening was introduced in Scotland in the 1960s. Although large numbers of women were offered tests, the service at this time was not introduced as a population based programme. In 1978 committees were established by the UK Department of Health and a review was carried out in Scotland resulting in the Strong Report.
The national cervical screening programme was introduced in Scotland in 1988 with the aim of reducing the incidence of invasive cancer of the cervix. Cervical screening is offered to eligible women aged 20-60 every three years. Women with an abnormal screening history will continue to be invited for follow-up as appropriate.
Cervical screening can identify cell changes which may develop to be pre-cancerous in women who otherwise have no symptoms; at this stage, any changes can be easily treated, and treatment is usually very effective.
In May 2007, following a review of local call recall arrangements in Scotland, a new national IT system, the Scottish Cervical Call Recall System (SCCRS), was introduced across NHS Scotland.
The report from the most recent National Statistics publication can be found on our Publications page.
Scottish HPV Immunisation Programme
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is designed to protect against types of HPV that cause around 70% of the cases of cervical cancer in Scotland. The vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers, so regular cervical screening is still important. The HPV Immunisation Programme in Scotland started on 1st September 2008. Further information, including uptake statistics, are available on our Immunisation page.
At 31st March 2013:
- Of eligible women, 71.2% had been screened in the previous 3.5 years, a decrease of 1.8 percentage points compared to 31st March 2012.
- Compared to 31st March 2012, uptake rates have decreased slightly in all of the 15 NHS Boards. The majority of NHS Boards continue to have a higher uptake rate compared to 5 years ago, at 31st March 2008.
- Just over 405,000 cervical screening tests were processed within the programme which is an increase of approximately 8% in the last 5 years since 2007-08.
- Of all tests processed, over 97.5% were of satisfactory quality. Of satisfactory results, 90.3% had a negative result, 8.3% had a low grade cell change and the remaining 1.4% had high grade cell changes.
- The lowest laboratory turnaround time for processing cervical screening tests was found in quarter 4 (January to March), when 95% of tests were processed within 24 working days.
Tables and charts
IMPORTANT: The following tables and charts are based on the pre-2006 Health Board configuration (former Argyll & Clyde). Figures for NHS Highland do not include the Argyll & Bute area and figures for NHS Greater Glasgow do not include the Clyde area.
- Annual uptake data [121KB] up to 31st March 2013 by NHS Board of Residence
- Annual workload data [101KB] up to 31st March 2013: number of screening tests processed, percentage of unsatisfactory screening tests and results by NHS Laboratory
- Number of screening tests processed [51KB] up to 31st March 2013 by NHS Laboratory
- Turnaround times [74KB] up to 31st March 2013 by NHS Laboratory
- Reporting times [40KB] up to 31st March 2013 by NHS Board of residence
- Workload_with_turnaround_times [28KB] up to 31st March 2013 by NHS Laboratory
Historical data: to 31st March 2007
- Percentage of unsatisfactory screening test results by quarter [33KB] up to 31st March 2007 by NHS Laboratory
- Screening test results by quarter (numbers) [274KB] up to 31st March 2007 by NHS Laboratory
- Screening test results by quarter (percentages) [296KB] up to 31st March 2007 by NHS Laboratory
- Crosstabulation by quarter [281KB] of number of screening tests up to 31st March 2007 by NHS Board of residence and NHS board performing analysis
Cervical cancer incidence and mortality [116KB] trends in incidence rates (all ages combined), and by age group and stage of disease; and trends in mortality rates (all ages combined)
Cervical screening links
Cervical cancer statistics : detailed incidence and mortality data, lifetime risk, prevalence and survival statistics.
NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) : general information and publications relating to cervical screening in the UK.
Cervical Screening - National Overview (November 2003) [484KB]: report produced by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.
National Services Division (NSD) , which has responsibility for providing the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme.
Information about cervical Screening
Cervical Screening information available here : leaflets produced by Health Scotland
Cervical Screening Data Frequently Asked Questions
Details of data sources