CervicalCheck: The National Cervical Screening Programme
CervicalCheck is a national screening programme to prevent cervical cancer. The programme provides free cervical screening tests to women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 65. A HPV cervical screening test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes. It is the most effective way to detect HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and changes in the cells of the cervix.
If you have any questions or concerns about the screening programme, contact CervicalCheck on Freephone 1800 45 45 55.
If you have any concerns about cervical cancer, have a family history of cervical cancer or have symptoms of cervical cancer, you should contact your family doctor (GP). If you do not have a GP, you can find a GP in your area.
Cervical screening and COVID-19
Cervical screening was temporarily stopped because of the COVID-19 emergency. It has now restarted.
From 6 July 2020, CervicalCheck will send invitation letters to:
- Anyone needing an early repeat test (a one-year recall)
- Anyone needing a repeat test because their last sample could not be tested (a 3-month recall)
- People who have become eligible this year for their first screening
After these invitation letters have been sent, CervicalCheck will then send letters to people waiting for routine screening. They will start with people who have been waiting the longest.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are self-isolating, you should reschedule your appointment.
HPV cervical screening
Since March 2020, an improved method is used to check the health of the cervix.
The new test is called a HPV cervical screening test. It looks for types of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) that can cause cervical cancer, and then for abnormal cells if HPV is detected.
The previous method of screening was called a smear test and only checked for abnormal cells.
Who should get a HPV cervical screening test?
Anyone with a cervix who is aged between 25 and 65 should get a HPV cervical screening test when it is due.
If you are aged 25 to 29 years, you should be screened every 3 years.
If you are aged 30 to 65 years, you should be screened every 5 years.
Some people will need to be screened more often. If this applies to you, CervicalCheck will write to you and let you know.
How to get an appointment
CervicalCheck will send invitation letters to anyone on the CervicalCheck register who is aged between 25 and 65.
You should already be on the register if you:
- Are between 25 and 65 and have a PPS number or
- Have previously had a test through CervicalCheck
When you receive your invitation letter, you should contact a registered GP or nurse to make an appointment. Find out where you can have a cervical screening test.
You do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment if:
- You missed your last cervical screening test
- Your next test is due
You also do not need to be on the register to have a free screening test. If your test is due, you can book a test with a GP or nurse who is registered with CervicalCheck.
Private cervical screening
If you want to have a HPV cervical screening test but you are not due to have one, you can pay to have it done privately.
CervicalCheck will not have access to your private screening results, and the private lab checking your sample will not have access to your CervicalCheck screening history.
You can find more information about HPV cervical screening at hse.ie/cervical-screening.
You can also free-phone CervicalCheck on 1800 45 45 55.
The Irish Cancer Society has information on cervical cancer.