Cervical Screening Program Renewal

The Federal Department of Health’s recent announcement to delay the start of the National Cervical Screening Program Renewal (previously scheduled to start 1 May 2017). For more information please read the announcement page.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing is leading a renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) to update the current national guidelines (“Guidelines for the management of asymptomatic women with screen detected abnormalities, 2005”) and cervical screening recommendations for women.

Since the National Cervical Screening Program was introduced in 1991, there is greater knowledge and understanding about the development of cervical cancer and new technologies and testing capabilities have been developed.

The NCSP Renewal aims to ensure Australia has the most effective cervical screening program that will continue to improve health outcomes for Australian women.

The NCSP Renewal changes to Australia’s cervical screening program will come into operation on 1 December 2017, and include:

  • the test for cervical screening will change from the current Pap smear to a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV). The new test will be called the cervical screening test
  • The new test will be offered ever five years instead of every two
  • The recommended screening ages will change from 18 to 69 years of age to 25 to 74 years of age.

Until the recommendations are implemented, it’s ‘Business as Usual’ with the SA Cervix Screening Program encouraging all women aged 18 to 69 years of age who have ever been sexually active to continue having Pap smears every two years.

For more information, please visit the National Cervical Screening Program website for details of the recommendations and the NCSP Renewal process. For national updates on the NCSP Renewal, please join the Partner Reference Group an informal group open to anyone with an interest in cervical screening.

Nationally consistent NCSP Renewal Key Messages and Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 67KB) have also been developed by the National Cervical Screening Program to assist cervical screening register staff, cancer help line staff and health professionals in answering questions about the NCSP Renewal from members of the public.

As we get closer to the start date on 1 December 2017, there will be more information for health professionals and women available on both the National Cervical Screening Program website and the SA Cervix Screening Program website. 

Examples of the type of information that will become available leading up to the start of the NCSP Renewal are:

  • training and education resources for health professionals
  • tool kits
  • fact sheets
  • information brochures for women and specific groups of women
  • links to the new ‘clinical guidelines
  • new pathology standards for cervical screening (HPV) tests 
  • the new Quality and Safety Framework and links/references to where supporting information can be accessed in the future.

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