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Resources for Health Professionals

Implementation of Primary HPV testing into the Northern Ireland Cervical Screening Programme 

Key Messages: 

  • The Northern Ireland Cervical Screening Programme will introduce the Primary HPV testing testing pathway from Monday 11th December 2023. 
  • Specimens provided from this date will be tested for the presence of High risk HPV (HrHPV). Samples which test negative for HrHPV will not have cytology and these patients will be returned to routine recall.
  • If a sample tests positive for HrHPV, then cytological examination is the next step to determine which samples contain abnormal cells. Individuals who test positive for HrHPV and for whom abnormal cells are detected will be directly referred to Colposcopy Services to enable clinical assessment.
  • Primary HPV screening will not involve any changes to the clinical procedure for taking the cervical sample. 
  • Please ensure that all cervical sample takers are made aware of these important changes to the programme. 

GP Letter templates

These letters are for use by GP practices, when sending out results to women who have had a cervical screening test. Please note that the screening logo should be removed if the wording of the letter is altered.


Letter HPV result Cytology result Pathway Management
1 Negative pHPV Routine Recall
2 Negative Negative Co-testing Routine Recall
3 Negative Mod/severe Co-testing Referred to Colposcopy
4 Negative Borderline/mild Co-testing Routine Recall
5 Positive Negative All Recall in 12 Months
6 Positive Mod/Severe/borderline/Mild All Referred to Colposcopy
7 Unsuitable All Repeat in 3 Months
8 Negative Results letter for backlog HPV pHPV Results-letter-for-backlog-pHPV-negative

General resources for the NI Cervical Screening Programme

Cervical Screening Information for Primary Care – November 2023

Template Practice Protocol for Cervical Screening (In process of being updated)

Audit tool for Cervical Screening Sample Takers


Cervical Cancer Audit 


Leaflets (link to leaflets hosted on PHA website)


Useful resources to make screening more accessible:

  • Our patient information videos on what to expect following a cervical screening invitation are currently being revised and will be uploaded here when available. 
  • The charity Beyond Words has published a wordless picture story ‘An Easy Guide to Cervical Screening’. Click here to view a copy.


Signposting service users to other resources:

PHA Cervical Screening Programme

NI Direct- Cervical Screening 

NI Direct – Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust