New cervical smear test trialled by NNUH
A new, more reliable technique for preparing cervical smear tests has been successfully trialled at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and is set to be rolled out nationally.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is recommending the new test be rolled out nationally after successful clinical trials in Norfolk, Bristol and Newcastle. The new technique, Liquid Based Cytology, involves preserving cervical cells in a sealed bottle of liquid and produces more accurate results. It means women are much less likely to have to be recalled for second tests.
Cells are collected from the cervix in the usual way but instead of being ‘smeared’ on to a slide by the GP or nurse, they are mixed into a vial of liquid and processed in a machine in the laboratory. GP practices in central Norfolk have now switched to the new system of Liquid Based Cytology.
It's much better for patients because it produces much better quality samples for us to look at. This means there is rarely a need for the patient to return to the GP or clinic for a repeat test as very few turn out to be unsatisfactory. Also, the samples are ‘homogenised’ to create a more representative selection of cells for examination, said consultant histopathologist Dr Ray Lonsdale.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is one of only three in England to have piloted the Liquid Based Cytology system and the findings were published by NICE yesterday.