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Why does it take so long to get smear test results?

(10 Posts)
IAmReallyFabNow Thu 27-Jan-11 20:48:47

confused.

MissAnglia Thu 27-Jan-11 20:49:30

Not sure, but I think it's because they have to grow the cells they take and see how they develop.

KirstyJC Thu 27-Jan-11 20:51:21

How long has it taken? My last smear was on a Monday and I go the results in the post on that Saturday. I was quite impressed!

Although if they have to grow the cells then I don't know how they managed that in such a short time? confused

IAmReallyFabNow Thu 27-Jan-11 20:53:17

I was told they would take 2-3 weeks.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 27-Jan-11 20:57:51

I found it much quicker the last time. They said within two weeks but it was less than that.

Mine were really quick this time, maybe give them a ring and check?

LadyDamerel Thu 27-Jan-11 21:06:06

I think it mostly depends on how busy the lab is. I have had one done every 6 months for the last 3 years and sometimes it's been as fast as a week, other times it's been over a month/ 6 weeks.

After Jade Goody died there was a huge number of people going for tests and most of the labs simply didn;t have the manpower to deal with the volume of tests coming in so there was a backlog.

That seems to have tailed off now but it's possible your local lab has low staffing levels so it's taking a bit longer to process them.

BelaLugosiinStripes Thu 27-Jan-11 22:02:14

The cervical screening programme now has a 14 day end to end turnaround time target. You should receive your result in writing on or before 14 days (not just working days) from the date of your test.
Many areas of England are now achieving this. I would definitely give your practice a ring if you're after the 2 weeks.

MissAnglia: the cells removed from your cervix are washed into preservative and the vial is sent to the lab.
The liquid is filtered through a membrane, placed onto a slide, the cells are stained with dyes to make them easier to read, then they are read by scientific staff under a microscope. No growing involved! An offical NHS CSP video is here which explains more - it's about half way in.

BelaLugosiinStripes Thu 27-Jan-11 22:05:27

During the Jade Goodey effect we got 3 months worth of work in 1 month. As staff take 2 years to train to be a basic grade cytoscreener we can't suddenly get loads more staff overnight.
My lab get the results out for over 80% in 7 days so as KirstyJ found, you can get the result letter the same week.

IAmReallyFabNow Fri 28-Jan-11 10:46:02

Thanks everyone. I hope they are back pretty soon.

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