Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

I've been barred from smearing women

I can no longer take smears. No, I haven’t had a stroke, broken my arm or gone blind. Nor have I been nabbed by the GMC for some cervical misdemeanour...

I can no longer take smears. No, I haven't had a stroke, broken my arm or gone blind. Nor have I been nabbed by the GMC for some cervical misdemeanour...



A close shave, there. Briefly: some time ago, doing a smear, phone rang just as I'd finished, dealt with phone call with speculum still in situ, forgot to take it out, absent mindedly told patient she could get off the couch, much clanking and wailing etc etc.

Anyway, the fact is that the local lab has just informed me it will no longer process smears unless they've been done by ‘approved' smear takers. Meaning you need to have gone on the obligatory study day and take at least 20 per year.

As I'm allergic to study days, don't take more than a handful of smears per year because my nurses do most of them and am a conscientious objector to this type of interference in my practice, particularly given that I've been merrily smearing women for two decades without incident (OK, apart from that one), I've reached something of an impasse.

Of course, the truth is I couldn't care less - because smears cause me almost as much discomfort (on account of having to get out of my chair, find a speculum and so on) as they do the patient. But, of course, there's a wider and rather more annoying issue here.

Which is that the current obsession with deconstructing primary care into its individual components, subjecting them to rigorous study days, refreshers, tests and scrutiny add up to one thing: the current GP qualification, ironically more stringent, sodding expensive and reappraised than ever before, counts for Jack Shit.

Strange, really. I thought, that the ‘practitioner' part of ‘GP' implied that I could practice. And that the ‘general' part meant with a broad range of skills.

Apparently not. Still, not doing smears frees up some time so I can get on with what I'm good at. Which is, er, what exactly?

Copperfield blog - I've been banned from smearing women

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say