This procedure should be performed routinely at least every three years for women aged 25-49 or every five years for women aged 50-65. The smear test aims to detect changes in the cervix (neck of the womb) before they become dangerous so that they can be treated. Patients who receive a letter of invitation to attend for a smear should ask to make an appointment with one of the practice nurses in normal surgery time. If you wish to defer your invitations for any length of time, please discuss with a doctor or nurse and ask for a disclaimer.
If you are in your 40s or older and found your last smear to be more uncomfortable than usual, please discuss with your GP a few months before your smear is due. You may benefit from a course of vaginal oestrogen before the procedure. Please see the Menopause section for more information.