Colposcopy is a high profile and integral part of the NHSCSP. For the service to meet the standards it has set itself colposcopists need to acquire a range of professional skills other than diagnostic ability. It is unrealistic to expect a training course in colposcopy to equip future colposcopists with all these skills but it provides the opportunity to emphasise their importance and develop a progressive evidence based and enthusiastic culture. The course should include all the following areas:
The course requires that the trainee perform at least 150 colposcopies under supervision. The bulk of the training programme is about the transference of theoretical knowledge into practical know-how. Actually performing colposcopy under supervision, i.e. apprenticeship, is the best way of learning not just how to recognise different clinical conditions but how to manage them.
The syllabus specifically details a number of generic competencies and lists a number of related competencies in the log book which the trainee needs to acquire. Other competencies such as communication skills and problem solving are an integral part of colposcopic practice and necessarily form part of clinical competence.
All accredited colposcopists (including trainers) must attend a BSCCP approved conference or meeting every 3 years to maintain basic competency but involvement in colposcopy related audit and research would be seen as prerequisites for trainer status.
Whilst the main focus is on learning the skills directly related to performing colposcopy (communication, proficiency in conducting the examination) there are a variety of other areas that are involved informally, although not specifically detailed (medico-legal aspects, complaints, need for clear documentation).
Overall the programme has comprehensive content and it is anticipated that it will evolve to include additional features as deemed relevant by the CTC (training committee).