Pathology Handbook

Cervical cytology smears

Request Form 

Pre-printed A5 HMR101(2009) (default) cervical cytology request form should be produced via Open Exeter where possible for all cervical smears taken in GP surgeries and clinics. Please click on the link below.


The downloadable version of the request form (*) or the yellow single cervical cytololgy request form may be used if Open Exeter is not available.

Please see the sample acceptance criteria guidance

In both circumstances please complete the date of test, LMP and any clinical details manually.


On request. However National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP) out of programme samples will be rejected.

Specimen transport

Specimens should be sent to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection.  Outside laboratory hours, specimens can be left in the post box outside the pathology reception on the first floor of the Tower Block.

Specimen Requirements

In patients with a LMP, it is preferable that the sample should be taken mid cycle. If the patient is pregnant it is preferable to take the sample 3 months post-delivery.


The Thin Prep vials, brushes, yellow request forms and transport bags are available from the Cellular Pathology Department, the vials and brushes are in units of 25.  These can be ordered using the Laboratory Supplies order form for GP surgeries, form No 39.


Thin-prep vials and brushes must be used.

The prepared vial should be labelled in permanent marker pen with the patient's name and date of birth and placed, with the completed request form in a transport bag and sent to the laboratory.


Certain cases with low grade abnormalities or patients who have had previous treatment for an abnormal smear may require an High Risk Human Papilloma Virus (HR HPV) test. These are requested by the Cytology department when necessary and the test is carried out on the original sample. The Cytology Department will indicate the appropriate management of these patients in accordance with the HR HPV result and NHS CSP guidelines.

For further information on HR HPV please see the NHS CSP HPV Triage and Test of Cure Implementation Guide


The report will be sent electronically to the patient's GP via the Pathology GP links, and the reports will be available to view in ICE. If a smear is taken at a Family Planning Clinic, paper copies of the reports are issued to the FPC and the patient's GP. The result will be sent electronically to Essex Contractor Services (ECS) at Clacton, who will then send a letter to the patient advising her of her smear result and follow up requirements. Patients referred to the Colposcopy clinic or attending appointments at the Colposcopy clinic will receive their appointment letter directly from the clinic and ECS will send a result letter.

The laboratory staff do not issue results directly to the patient. 

Turnaround times

Cervical smears taken as part of the national screening programme in GP surgeries and Family Planning Clinics are normally reported within 7-10 days of receipt of the smears in the laboratory, as recommended in the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme guidelines.

Patients with abnormal cervical Cytology are referred for Colposcopy when appropriate. An appointment is issued directly to the patient from the Colposcopy Department.


(*) Downloadable gynae request form.