Significant improvement in smear test result times

In almost 55 per cent of cases, test results were issued within two weeks of a smear being taken – up from 36 per cent in the previous year.

95 per cent of results were issued within four weeks, meeting the four-week target.

More than 76 per cent of women in the target age group (25-64 years) have been screened at least once in the last five years. Coverage exceeded 74 per cent in all health boards.

Cervical screening – also called a smear test – aims to prevent cancer from developing in the cervix at the neck of the womb.  Women from the age of 25 are invited for screening every three years. Women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

Cervical screening is a free NHS test that is carried out at your GP surgery or at some sexual-health clinics.

Louise Dunk, Head of Programme for Cervical Screening Wales, said:

“We are really pleased with the performance of cervical screening services in Wales this year.  Waiting for the results of a smear test can be a worrying time for some women, so it’s good to see an increase in test results returned within two weeks.

“Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer in women under the age of 35. Smear tests can save lives by detecting any pre-cancerous changes early when treatment is more effective.

“We want to improve uptake as a programme.  I would encourage all women to attend screening when invited, and read their information leaflet carefully to make an informed choice about whether to take advantage of this free NHS service.


“Although a smear test can be uncomfortable, anyone who is worried about it can talk to their practice nurse as there are things she can do to help.”

Laboratories examined around 142,000 samples on Welsh residents in 2017/18.

In September 2018, Wales became the first UK nation to fully adopt high-risk HPV testing as the first test done on every cervical screening sample.

This new way of testing has been proven to be a more reliable and sensitive method to help prevent women from developing cervical cancer.

Taking part in cervical screening is your choice. Read the information leaflet provided carefully to help you make your decision.  Screening will not prevent all cancers and not all cancers can be cured.