Cervical screening (smear test)

Cervical screening (also known as a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina.

It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.

Who the screening is for

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should get a letter to invite them for a smear.

If you are pregnant then you need to wait until 3 months after the birth of your child before a Cervical Screen can be conducted.

If you’ve not been invited and think you’re eligible, please contact the surgery.

How often you need a screening

How often you need screening depends on how old you are.

If you’re:

  • under 25, you’ll be invited up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49, you’ll be invited every 3 years
  • 50 to 64, you’ll be invited every 5 years
  • 65 or older, you’ll only be invited if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.

Getting an appointment

You’ll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.

The letter will tell you where you can go and how to request an appointment.

If you have not received a screening letter

You can also request help at the surgery if you have not received an invite by letter. Please ask to speak to our Cervical Screening coordinator.

See surgery contact details

Find out more

Read the guide to cervical screening on the NHS website.

Date published: 18th December, 2023
Date last updated: 1st February, 2024