On Saturday 13th October 2018, cytologists from across the UK attended the BAC/IBMS joint event Preparing for the Future
IBMS and British Association for Cytopathology (BAC) came together in Nottingham to offer a critical meeting for our members - to inform and update them on the progress and current position of the implementation of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) primary screening in the NHS Cervical Cancer Screening Programme in England.
The national, one-stage open tender procurement process commencing in November 2018 will secure up to a maximum of 13 providers to deliver a HPV primary screening service and successful providers will consolidate existing services onto a maximum of 13 sites over a planned period.
The meeting featured a morning session with speakers from NHS Improvement and Unite the Union, and also provided the opportunity to discuss alternative roles in cytology for biomedical scientists.
Speakers from Scotland and Wales gave an insight into those regions which had already gone through the procurement process in relation to HPV Primary Screening.
Head of Pathology Services Consolidation at NHS Improvement David Wells gave an essential take home message during the morning session:
“The NHS cannot afford to lose skilled workers such as those in cytology.”
The IBMS delivered the afternoon session with Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May emphasising to cytologists:
“You have transferable knowledge, including good laboratory practice, UK systems and regulations and quality and safety. Histopathology might well be the “path of least resistance” if transferring from cytology. The IBMS Specialist Portfolio would be useful training template as a framework for training.”
With over 120 delegates attending, initial feedback has been positive during this time of imminent change in cytology. The BAC and IBMS will keep members fully up-to-date with all matters relating to the reconfiguration of services. The BAC will also upload PDF presentations from speakers where permission is granted.