Cervical Screening Program Renewal Announcement
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).
The SA Cervix Screening Program (SACSP) urges all cervical screening providers and South Australian women to not defer or delay having a Pap smear when they are due (as per the current National Guidelinesof every 2 years). It is ‘ business as usual’ with Pap smears continuing to be used as the preferred test for cervical screening until the National Cervical Screening Program Renewal starts 1 December, 2017.
The Federal Department of Health has reached agreement with representatives of the Australian Pathology providers which will ensure that women will be able to continue to access the current Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer until a new testing program begins on December 1 2017. For more information regarding pathology, MBS items and the announcement from the Federal Dept. of Health Chief Public Health Officer please visit http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr17-dept-dept002.htm .
The SACSP acknowledges that the delay to the start date for the National Cervical Screening Program Renewal may raise questions, concerns or issues for cervical screening providers, pathology labs and specialists, which can be directed to the Federal Dept. of Healthemail address: NCSRProject@health.gov.au or please call SACSP on the number below. The SACSP staff are keen to understand and follow up on issues and concerns from stakeholders that may impact on the provision of excellent cervical screening services (including pathology, follow up and treatment servicesin SA and women’saccess to pap smears over the delay period.
The SA Cervical Screening Register, run by the Victorian Cytology Service, will continue to provide an exemplary cervical screening registry service to SA women, SA pathology laboratories, GP’s and specialists throughout the delay period, and until SA formerly opts in to the National Cancer Screening Register.
The National Cervical Screening Program Renewal is an evidenced based improvement on the already highly successful cervical screening program in Australia . It is expected to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer for Australian women by a further 20%. The Australian Medical Association have addressed some of the misinformation and concerns that are circulating at the moment. To see the article, please visit https://ama.com.au/ausmed/cervical-cancer-screening
As information resources for both women and clinicians become available from the Federal Department of Health over the coming weeks/months, the SA Cervix Screening Program will ensure that all information and resources are distributed to stakeholders in SA, including SA women.
Until the new and improved, evidence based changes do come into effect, it is vitally important that women continue to have 2 yearly pap tests according to the current clinical guidelines and safe interval for cervical screening.
Do NOT defer having a Pap test if due. Please call SACSP on 13 15 56 if you have any questions or concerns.