Colposcopy training and assessment across the member countries of the European Federation for Colposcopy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2015 May;188:124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2015.03.012. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


Objectives: Colposcopy training and assessment is not uniform across Europe with individual countries determining their own required standards and regulations. In light of the significant changes in colposcopic practice that have occurred over the past decade and the expansion of the European Federation for Colposcopy (EFC) membership, a study was conducted firstly, to assess the current requirements for training in each of the member countries and secondly, to review an EFC-approved core training curriculum for colposcopy.

Study design: A questionnaire survey of the EFC representatives from all member countries investigating their country's current practices/requirements with regard to training, assessment and accreditation for colposcopy. A two-round Delphi consultation with representation from the full, associate and three potential member countries was conducted using a 5-point Likert scale for scoring opinions. The results were analysed with respect to each country's population size and World Bank economic classification.

Results: For the questionnaire survey, responses were received from 31/34 countries invited to participate. Training programmes were reported to be in place in 21 of the 31 countries but only 17 of the 21 countries had a committee overseeing the training programme. An assessment was part of the training programme in 20 countries with multiple choice questions and portfolios the most common assessment tools. Countries with a population size less than 2 million have a statistically significant lower probability of having a structured training/assessment programme, 1/5 compared to 20/26 for a populations greater than 2 million, p=0.013. For the Delphi study, responses were received from 34/39 countries invited to participate. Of the 51 competencies previously identified only 2 did not receive full support: 'perform bacterial swabs' and 'provide data to national body'. There was no significant difference in the responses given by member, associate member or potential member countries.

Conclusions: There is considerable variation in colposcopy training and assessment across Europe. This study has enabled consensus opinion with the EFC on the contents of an EFC core curriculum. The revised curriculum has a mandate from the EFC member countries to be implemented across Europe as the standard for colposcopic training.

Keywords: Accreditation; Colposcopy; Curriculum; Delphi; European Federation for Colposcopy; Training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / standards
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Colposcopy / education*
  • Colposcopy / standards*
  • Curriculum
  • Delphi Technique
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Educational Measurement / standards*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Population Density*
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires