National Cervical Screening Programme

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The National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) is delivered by a large number of providers across the screening pathway, from health promotion to treatment.

For consumer information

If you're looking for information about having a cervical smear, visit or phone 0800 729 729.

The National Screening Unit (NSU) contracts 10 independent service providers to provide support to screening services for women who are less likely to have cervical screening.

Across the country there are approximately 7300 smear takers, mostly general practitioners and nurses and seven laboratories providing cytology, HPV and histology testing services to the programme.

The 20 district health boards (DHBs) are contracted by the NSU to provide colposcopy services. Women can also go to private colposcopy services. Twelve of the 20 DHBs have been contracted to provide the NCSP-Register services. NCSP regional services undertake a regional coordination role for cervical screening health promotion, some smear taking as well as liaising with key organisations and people relevant to cervical screening, eg, PHOs, Māori or Pacific health providers and GP practices.

The four components of the NCSP service delivery model currently delivered by the NCSP regional services are:

  • management and operation of the NCSP-Register
  • regional coordination and liaison activities that are directly supported by the NCSP-Register, particularly with other providers (eg, smear takers and colposcopy units)
  • provision of smear-taking services for women in priority groups.

Since the NCSP began in 1990 the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased by about 50 percent. Cervical cancer incidence in 2012 was 6.2 per 100,000 women (age standardised to the WHO population, all ages).

There has also been a steady decline in cervical cancer mortality since NCSP began of about 60 percent. Cervical cancer mortality in 2010 was 1.7 per 100,000 women (age standardised to the WHO population, all ages).

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Page last updated: 25 November 2014