In November 2015, the UK National Screening Committee recommended that human papillomavirus (HPV) screening should replace the currently used liquid based cytology test as the primary screening for cervical disease.
NHS England has since worked with partner organisations to determine the most viable approach for how this service could be delivered safely, effectively and sustainably on a national level. A robust options appraisal process and due diligence process was undertaken by Public Health England and NHS England to determine the optimum number of laboratories required to provide HPV primary screening. This process resulted in the procurement of nine laboratories.
The procurement process involved robust assessment of all bids received for these services and NHS England is in the process of finalising this stage in the procurement. It is planned that contract awards arising from the procurement process will be announced this month (April 2019).
The National Health Service will remain the primary provider for cervical cytology screening in England and cervical screening remains part of the General Medical Services contract.