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The waiting game

NICE calls for end to Pap smear

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has recommended liquid-based cytology replace the Pap smear in the England and Wales cervical screening programme.

In its final appraisal before issuing full guidance, NICE proposed the switch to reduce errors and make potential long-term cost savings.

The document said the advantages of LBC included 12 per cent better sensitivity and a significant decrease in 'inadequate' samples.

A UK pilot estimated the average aggregate cost of LBC, including consultation and lab work, was £22.30 compared with £21.68 for the Pap test. It also calculated a one-off transition cost of more than £10 million.

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