Booking a cervical screening test

You need to book your screening test yourself.

If you are on the CervicalCheck register, you will be sent an invitation letter. This is to remind you that it's time to book your cervical screening appointment.

We will send you one invitation letter and one reminder letter. Please book your appointment as soon as you get your invitation letter.

You do not need to wait until you receive a letter to have a test. If your screening test is due or you missed your last test, you can go ahead and book a test.


It may be difficult to get a cervical screening appointment. You may not be offered an appointment for a number of weeks. This is because of COVID-19. If you are worried about symptoms, phone your GP. Never ignore symptoms.

How to book a cervical screening test

Book your cervical screening test with a GP or clinic registered with CervicalCheck.

You do not need to be a patient of a particular GP or clinic to have your screening test done there.

If you are 25 to 65 years of age and your test is due, you can get a free screening test.

Private gynaecologists are not registered with CervicalCheck.

If you do not have a letter

You do not need to receive a letter from CervicalCheck to have a cervical screening test.

You can still have a free cervical screening test if your test is due but you have:

  • not been sent a letter
  • lost the letter

Call your GP or clinic to book an appointment.

If your test is not due

If your cervical screening test is not due, but you want to have one, you will have to pay for it.

If you missed your test the last time it was due, you can still have it for free. 

When to book cervical screening

Try to book your appointment as soon as you get your invitation letter. If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter.

It's best to book an appointment when you:

  • are not on your period – also try to avoid the 2 days before or after you bleed
  • have finished treatment for an unusual vaginal discharge or a pelvic infection, if you have one

You may have to delay having a cervical screening if you:

  • are pregnant now
  • have recently given birth
  • have recently had a miscarriage or abortion

Read more about cervical screening during pregnancy


Avoid using any vaginal medications, lubricants or creams in the 2 days before you have your test. They can affect the results.

Things to ask when you book

Don't be afraid to let the GP surgery or clinic know if you have any worries about going for cervical screening.

In many GP practices and clinics, you will be able to:

  • let them know if you'd like a woman to take your screening test
  • let them know if you'd like someone else to be in the room with you
  • ask for a longer appointment if you think you might need more time
  • let them know if you're finding the test more difficult after going through the menopause
  • ask for a smaller speculum (a tool that's put into your vagina so they can see your cervix)

Do not be embarrassed about talking to the nurse or doctor on the day. They're trained to make you feel more comfortable and provide support.

If you have a disability

Contact us if:

  • you or someone you care for needs support to take part in CervicalCheck
  • your eyesight is poor or you are blind - you can ask that we contact you by phone instead

You can check here if the GP practice or clinic you want to attend is wheelchair accessible. But it is best to also call them. This is to make sure in advance that they can help you with any needs you have.

Tell the GP or nurse what is helpful to you when giving a screening sample. They are there to help you and make you feel comfortable.

Page last reviewed: 30 December 2019
Next review due: 30 December 2022