Professor Maggie Cruickshank with two of the founding members Joe Jordan and Albert Singer

Past president Maggie Cruickshank with two of the founding members Joe Jordan and Albert Singer

About the BSCCP

The Society, founded in 1972, represents a common forum for the discussion and debate of all matters pertaining to the prevention of cancer of the cervix. By its very nature the Society is multidisciplinary, a fact that almost certainly explains its strengths and continued growth. Most, if not all, members find membership, and particularly attendance at the Annual Scientific Meeting, a major influence in their practice and a key feature of their postgraduate education. Change affects all branches of healthcare and cervical disease is no exception. The balance between basic science, epidemiology, clinical care and service/patient interface is a characteristic of the Society and is typified by the high standard and variety of papers presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting.

Should you require further information about the BSCCP or would like to become a member, please contact:-

Miss Sharon Parisi or Mrs Elaine Radford.

Tel: 0121 335 8200

History of BSCCP

In 1972, two young university lecturers, Joe Jordan, Birmingham, and Albert Singer, Oxford, decided to form the British Colposcopy Group. Both had recently completed their MD/PhD theses on subjects relating to the cervix and its pathology.

Both were active clinical gynaecologists and the underlying philosophy of the British Colposcopy Group was to have objectives which were both clinical and academic. Later in 1972 they approached Dr. Archie Crompton, a gynaecologist in Leeds. Archie Crompton had been trained in the art of colposcopy in Germany. The three of them set about organising a clinical meeting to launch the group and this was held at the end of 1972 in Birmingham. It was hosted by Professor Hugh McLaren, Lawson Tait Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Birmingham, who recognised the value of cervical cytology screening from the 1950s. Colposcopy was seen by him as a natural development to the screening process.

About 35 people attended this meeting and a further meeting was organised by Albert Singer at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford in 1973. This meeting was introduced by Professor John Stallworthy who himself had been involved in encouraging the training of the young Australian gynaecologist, Malcolm Coppleson, who was also trained in colposcopy in Germany and had set up a colposcopy clinic at the Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Sydney, Australia in the 1950’s. Albert Singer had worked with Malcolm Coppleson and his co-worker Bevan Reid for 5 years before coming to Oxford in 1970.

After the Oxford meeting it was decided that a meeting should be held every 6 months and at the same time colposcopy courses were started in Birmingham. The demand for colposcopy training was much higher than at first envisaged but this demand reflected that the need for colposcopists to be trained throughout the U.K. Initially the meetings were 1 day in duration, starting on a Friday lunchtime and finishing sometime on Saturday afternoon - an important part of the meeting was always the informal dinner on the Friday night!

In the autumn of 1972 the International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (IFCPC) was formed in Mar del Plata, Argentina with the aim of promoting the practice of colposcopy worldwide. The Constitution of IFCPC was structured in such a way that only national colposcopy societies were eligible for membership so in 1975 the British Colposcopy Group was renamed BRITISH SOCIETY FOR COLPOSCOPY AND CERVICAL PATHOLOGY (BSCCP). A Constitution was drawn up, an Executive Committee was formed, and the first President, Joe Jordan, served from 1975-78. He was followed by Albert Singer (1978-81) and subsequent Presidents were Frank Sharp, then Senior Lecturer in Glasgow, Ian Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Dundee, and Malcolm Anderson, the first President to be a histopathologist, from London.

At the 1978 meeting of IFCPC in Disney World, Florida, Joe Jordan was elected President of IFCPC and BSCCP was asked to hold the World Congress in 1981. The meeting was held in London and was opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne. Our friends from abroad who attended the meeting still tend to refer to that meeting as "The Princess Anne Meeting." One of the highlights of that meeting was a banquet for about 400 people in the Crypt of the Guildhall in the City of London.

As a result of the 1981 IFCPC meeting BSCCP was firmly established as one of the leading societies for colposcopy and cervical pathology in the world.

Over the last 30 years BSCCP has grown to an extent that we now have a membership of 2,400. It is undoubtedly one of the most influential societies in world colposcopy. Its members sit on the Executive of IFCPC and the European Federation for Colposcopy (EFC.)

BSCCP was largely instrumental in encouraging the birth and development of EFC. EFC was formed in 1999 and its founder President was Joe Jordan (1999-2004.) BSCCP has also been instrumental in providing guidelines to the British Government with regard to the diagnosis and management of cervical premalignancy and has played a major role in the development of the National Health Service Cervical Cancer Screening Programme (NHSCSP). BSCCP has a permanent secretariat led by  Sharon Parisi alongside Elaine Radford in Birmingham.


A career as a colposcopist

Colposcopy is well established in the United Kingdom as the investigation for those women presenting with abnormal cervical cytology (known previously as 'smears') or with other related cervical problems.

Colposcopy was initially described in 1925 but it was not until the 1960's that colposcopy started to get introduced in the United Kingdom. Now most hospitals will have clinics dedicated to this service.

In 2004/2005, there were almost 125,000 women referred to colposcopy for the first time in England. This compares with an annual incidence of cervical cancer of just over 2,400 for England in 2001. The annual death rate from cervical cancer has fallen to below 1,000 for the first time ever in England. The incidence of cervical cancer has shown a dramatic fall since organised screening was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1988.

The colposcopy service has several functions:

Accept referrals from GPs and laboratories.
Diagnose conditions from colposcopy examinations.
Treat the condition.
Take samples from the cervix (a biopsy) to obtain a diagnosis.
Follow up treatment with further investigations if necessary.
Discharge the patient back to the call-recall system (providing smear appointments with your family practice or family planning clinic).
Run a failsafe system for checking the follow-up all patients treated.

The British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (BSCCP) has had a training programme for colposcopists since 1998. We have the same training programme for gynaecologists, genito-urinary medicine doctors or nurses. All of these can undertake both the diagnostic and treatment modules and details are available under the Healthcare Professionals section. An increasing number of the trainees are nurses and they provide an essential component of the work in colposcopy clinics. The training programme generally takes takes about 12-18 months to complete and there is a recertification programme for those actively involved with providing colposcopy. This is undertaken every 3 years and requires a reasonable workload as well as undertaking audit and demonstrating continuing professional development (CPD) in this sphere by attending appropriate meetings.