New Cytology Testing Service


Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received national approval to move forward and implement new tests which could help reduce the rate of cervical cancer in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire from April 1, 2012.

Cervical cancer was not originally perceived as a sexually transmitted disease but we now know that High Risk Human Papillomavirus (HR HPV) is implicated in over 99% of cases.

Working alongside NHS Gloucestershire and NHS Worcestershire screening programmes which have already introduced a vaccination programme, we are now rolling out testing for HR HPV infection in women with abnormal cytology (triage) and a history of cervical disease (Test of Cure).

Discussions are also underway about rolling out the new test with programmes in neighbouring counties.

Consultant Healthcare Scientist Nichole Villeneuve said: “The programme is another example of the excellent reputation that Gloucestershire Hospitals is building as a provider of high quality screening services.

“Delivering this new service is a challenge that the laboratory team is rising to with aplomb.

“This is a big step forwards for the laboratory which has only been achieved with buy-in from all staff involved and congratulations are due all round”.

Dr Sola Aruna, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Gloucestershire said: “In the UK, about 3,000 women are  still diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and the new tests are an important step forward in identifying one of the major causes, High- Risk  HPV infection.

"It’s also important that women continue to attend for cervical screening when they are invited by their GP; so that any early cell changes can be detected and treated. I would also encourage parents and guardians to take the opportunity to have their daughter vaccinated as part of the HPV immunisation programme being rolled out in schools across Gloucestershire, to protect them in the future”.

Note to Editors

Cervical screening is a key service historically provided by the GHNHSFT to the women of Gloucestershire and is currently provided from a purpose designed laboratory in the Pathology building at CGH. The service is based around cervical cytology detecting pre-cancerous changes resulting in women with abnormal cytology being referred for Colposcopy which includes diagnosis and a simple out-patient treatment procedure when appropriate.

The programme has changed significantly over the years; local landmarks have been the introduction of computerised call and recall in 1988, the introduction of new liquid based cytology technology in 2006 and a move to a single site within the Trust as part of the Pathology reconfiguration scheme in 2008. These changes have built a very strong team in the laboratory which paid dividends when the Trust successfully tendered for and won the contract to provide cervical cytology to the Worcestershire screening programme in 2007.