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Quality assurance and self audit

  1. Guidelines for quality assurance in cervical screening
  2. Tools to support self audit of cervical screening


Guidelines for quality assurance in cervical screening

The 'Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Screening' set out the quality standards and requirements for each component of the cervical screening programme. There are quality standards and requirements for: Programme office, Primary care, Cytopathology, HPV testing, Colposcopy and Histopathology.

The first edition (2009) of the QA Guidelines was developed by expert groups and reviewed by international experts. Revisions to create subsequent editions were made by the NSS Quality Assurance Committee for Cervical Screening, which monitors the implementation of the guidelines.

The Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Screening are available for download below (available by chapter).

Please note that the guidelines are currently under review and each updated chapter will be available on this website once finalised. Please check the website regularly for the most up to date edition of each chapter.

View and download individual chapters:

Foreword, preface, authors and contributors (Second Edition)
Chapter 1     Introduction (Second Edition)
Chapter 2     Quality assurance in programme operation (Third Edition)
Chapter 3     Quality assurance in primary care (Second Edition)
Chapter 4     Quality assurance in cytopathology (Second Edition)
Chapter 5     Quality assurance in HPV testing (Second Edition)
Chapter 6     Quality assurance in colposcopy (Second Edition)
Chapter 7     Quality assurance in histopathology (Second Edition)
Appendix 1   Key performance indicators (KPIs) (Second Edition)
Appendix 2   Revision history (Second Edition)


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Tools to support self audit of cervical screening

CervicalCheck has developed a Primary Care Self Audit tool to support smeartakers in Primary Care. It has been developed to facilitate smeartakers to carry out a clinical audit that aims to ensure effective assessment and compliance with the 'Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Screening - Primary Care'.

The audit tool is designed to comply with the guidelines and requirements of the ICGP for clinical audit as part of the professional competence scheme for GPs. 

Those who choose cervical screening as a topic for self audit can choose to base their audit on one, some or all of the 11 criteria set out for adherence to the QA guidelines for cervical screening in primary care.

The tool assists in the completion of a quality improvement plan, and a re-audit following actions taken.

CervicalCheck can provide certain statistics upon request to support those undertaking an audit of cervical screening in their practice.

Access the Primary Care Self Audit Tool (provided via the Screening Service learning portal)


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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é CervicalCheck
Bosca Oifig Phoist 161, Luimneach
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55
CervicalCheck is part of the National Cancer Screening Service
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Freephone 1800 45 45 55

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Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.