Stressful repeat smear plus confusing mixed information!

Hi Ladies, 


i haven't posted on here before but you have all been a great comfort when I needed you a few months ago so thank you all much. Sorry this is a long one! 

I had LLETZ procedure done in October and a month or so ago I got a letter from the colposcopy clinic and one from my GP surgery reminding me about my repeat 6 month smear due in April. I booked it up and went in on the 22nd to have it done at my GP surgery and it was horribly stressful.

When I got in there my nurse did the usual of 'please take a seat and we will go through your form' so I did. She started to go through the form then stopped and said "Is this your first smear?" I told her about having had LLETZ to which she just said "ok" no asking if been ok since, abnormal bleeding etc. She then realised she should probably read my notes and said "oh you aren't actually due until July"

To which I replied "I'm due now, it's been six months since my Lletz procedure" (I said this extremely politely, I'm a very shy person and hate conflict!)

she replied "no, it says here you aren't due until July"

me "well I have my letters here from this surgery and the clinic and they say April"

Nurse "We'll they must have been sent in error as our system is never wrong"

me "I'm sorry but I think it is as the letters say six months check as colposcopy specialist told me 6 months as said all my post procedure information" 

Nurse "we'll if I do it now and send it of they won't process it"

*cue interruption from receptionist with a cup of tea for the nurse*

me "but my letters say I need and I know I need I don't want to go away again. It's my health we are talking about"

Nurse "I think it's best you go away today and phone the clinic to discuss it"

me "I don't see what good that will do considering both them and you wrote to me telling me to come this month! I think it's your computet error and I'd like it sorted now. If I go away then I'll have to re book and to fit in with myour or will be another month. I don't feel happy going against a doctors advice. Is there a manager here today?"

Nurse *massive sigh* "ok, I'll go ask them *throws the form down on the side*

I sit there twiddling my thumbs for ten minutes and then she comes back and says

Comes back ad "right, apparently we are doing it" sits down and starts finishing form. Then she tells me to take my lower clothes off and lie on the couch. All this time huffing and pudding and not looking at me. Like it was all my fault, as you can imagine i REALLY didn't want it done now but obviously knew I needed it so persevered!

I led on the couch at the end the same way I had done at prev smear, colposcopy and LLETZ. She said "oh" (more of a groan/sigh "you are obviously doing as you did at the clinic, can you lie right back on the couch" 

So I did as she asked, she did the whole thing without talking or asking if I was ok. She then finished and said "ok we're done" and sat back at her computer so I just got up and started changing. She still said nothing so I said "do I go now?" And she replied "yes"

i then asked her when I get results as she hasn't told me. She sighed again then said "2 weeks, if any abnormalities you will be called back, of not it will be three yearly smears" 

i had been told at my Lletz that it would be annual smears for a while as did all my literature. I have no faith in that surgery now so wondered if you guys could advise? 

Horrible smear test, when all you want is reassurance :( I didn't want to be harsh but I also wasn't going to give in and risk my own health by not having it done. Was I out of line and did I deserve her attitude?

When should I be having smear tests if all normal? 

Vicki x

Hi Vicki, it really sucks that you have had such a crappy experience with the nurse but well done for sticking to your guns and putting up with it in order to get your test done, not that anybody should have to put up with that kind of treatment and I would definatley be putting a complaint in if I were you. nurses like that are why some women dont go for their smears and there is no excuse for treating patients so badly at such a sensitive appointment.

I think aftercare is different depending on where you live and I had my 6 month check at the hospital rather than the gp, my results didnt come back clear so I dont know what the protocol is for repeat testing if everything is ok. It used to be that you had more regular smears for 10 years following treatment but that was before hpv testing was introduced, I get the impression now that if you have a clear result with no hpv present they tent to move you back to 3 yearlys.

Hi Vicki! Sorry to hear of your terrible experience. Like Niki, I commend you for standing your ground and making sure that the test got done. This didn't happen in a London GP clinic by any chance?? As I had a really similar experience to you (my follow up smear was in April too) and I wrote about it on here - my nurse was also completely unprofessional, uncommunicative, unfriendly and did much of the huffing and puffing that you mention like everything was a massive inconvenience to her (erm, isn't this your job?). She also rolled her eyes at me whenever I dared make a coment/ask a question. I find it hard to believe that there can be so many nurses with this attitude working in the NHS!! If I behaved in such a way at work with a colleague, let alone an external party, I would be dragged into a disciplinary at the very least!! It's completely unacceptable that women have to put up with kind of behaviour when we are going through a stressful time (smears are bad enough as it is!!).

I did look into putting in a complaint but I was more concerned about waiting for the results and I don't know, it just seemed like a big hassle at the time!! I don't know if I can put in a complaint now, now that I have a clearer head - maybe you should look into doing the same. If we never speak up, then these mean nurses carry on upsetting patients, and that's just not fair!!

I have got my results back and I got the all clear - normal results and no HPV. The letter said that I didn't need to back for a smear until 2016, which I queried with my GP (like you I thought that I needed to be checked every year for the next 10 years). My GP had to check herself with the cytology department as she was unsure herself, but she confirmed that because HPV testing had just been introduced in my area, if you show a negative result for HPV, the new protocol states that you do not have to be seen for 3 years. If you test positive for HPV, even if your results are normal, mild or borderline, they keep a closer eye on you, with more regular colposcopies and smears.

Lots of luck on your results & let us know how you get on! Hope you have some sunshine where you are for the rest of the bank hoiday. xx

Hi Vicki,

I'm so sorry to hear about your bad experience :( I'd definitely suggest putting a complaint in, it's really not on for a nurse to treat you like that, regardless of what you've already been through. As Niki said, nurses like that are the reason some people are so put off smear tests! And it's not like anyone would book in for a smear for fun! This sounds daft but I'm really proud of you for going through the test after all that, I would have been a mess (I cried all over the place at my check up smear, and my nurse was really nice!) You definitely didnt deserve her attitude, and you were in no way out of line!

As for when you should be called back should all be clear - I dont think HPV testing is in my area yet as my results didnt mention HPV (although my recall letter did which was confusing) but my next test is 2014, my friend who is under a different NHS trust has been HPV tested and isnt back until 2016 so I think its just luck of the draw. 

When I went for my repeat smear the nurse spoke to me for quite a while about why I was so upset, and I explained that I'd had a hard time with the emotional aspect of everything, but that I was glad I'd got her again (she did my original 'bad' smear and I was nervous then and she was really good with me) and she said with things as personal as smears it's best to find someone you like and stick with them, and I was like 'well, won't the receptionist think I'm funny for asking for you particularly?' and she said they'll do whatever they can to make sure you're happy. I know this isn't always the case as I've had bad experiences with nurses, doctors and receptionists in the past(!!) but it's definitely worth finding a surgery you trust and know won't laugh at you when you book an appointment, dally about the person you're having it with, leave the surgery, come back nearly in tears, ask for a sooner appointment, and then leave again (and I speak from experience lol). x x 

hey guys


My GP practice and staff are as bad as this.  I have complained to the practice manager in writing but you can also complain to the PCT (I think the Gov has given this a new name recently), plus leave feedback/reviews about the practice on the NHS website.  It all counts.

take care x

Hiya Vicki,

I would look into changing GP practices, i changed hospitals when i was have regular colposcopies due to he fact that the information i was being told was conflicting constantly and during a colposcopy i was in alot of pain from the speculum and the nurse performing it said "well what do you expect!?"

I have since been seen by a different team at another hospital that were fabulous.

I would ask around and see if you know anyone that visits another GP practice