The renewed National Cervical Screening Program will be implemented on 1 December 2017, supported by the National Cancer Screening Register.
Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our existing world-class cervical screening program will continue as per the current screening pathway for eligible women. It is important that women due for their two yearly cervical screening continue to be tested using a cytology based cervical screening test such as the Pap test.
On 23 February 2017, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy announced the change in this statement.
We understand that some health care professionals and women may have chosen to align cervical screening with the start of the new Cervical Screening Test (primary HPV test) and, understandably, are disappointed by this unexpected delay.
Cervical screening until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is introduced on 1 December 2017.
• Until 1 December, all women aged between 18 and 69 who have ever been sexually active should continue to have a Pap test every two years.
• Health care professionals need to encourage women to continue screening as health care professionals play an important role in maintaining women’s participation in cervical screening. Some states and territories are reporting small reductions in the number of women having their two yearly Pap test since the beginning of 2017.
• If a woman visits for a Pap test prior to 1 December 2017 and is under 25 years of age, a Pap test should be performed as usual.
• State and territory registers will continue to send reminder letters to eligible women as per the current process. Health care professionals are also encouraged to continue to send reminder letters to their patients as per their current process.
• The delay has created some additional pressures on pathology providers, so turnaround times for results may be lengthened. However, this is still clinically safe for women.
For more information about the renewed National Cervical Screening Program
Nationally consistent online training and resources for both health care professionals and consumers will be available closer to the implementation of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program.
For more information on the National Cervical Screening Program and the National Cancer Screening Register please go to www.cancerscreening.gov.au
Material provided by Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network.
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