National Cervical Screening Programme: HPV Primary Screening Clinical Pathway to Introduce Self-Testing for Public Consultation 2021
In November 2019, the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) introduced a policy change as part of the planning for implementing HPV primary screening. This policy change introduces the choice of self-testing as a universal option. The transition to HPV primary screening will give everyone the option to complete a self-test or the option of a clinician-taken sample if that is their choice.
Consultation was carried out in the first half of 2021, seeking advice from NCSP stakeholders on introducing the option of self-testing to facilitate understanding of the changes being proposed and why they are being considered by the NCSP. This consultation closed on 8 June 2021.
- Consultation document: National Cervical Screening Programme: HPV Primary Screening Clinical Pathway to Introduce Self-Testing (Consultation now closed)
Changes to the pathway are based on emerging international data, including experience with HPV primary screening in Australia since December 2017. New Zealand studies suggest that the option of HPV self-testing as an alternative to a clinician-taken sample, with more comprehensive pathway support, will increase participation and equitable outcomes by reducing barriers to screening.
A technical references list ('HPV Primary Screening Literature Update 2021') (pdf, 155 KB) has been created for those interested in reading more about HPV primary screening, including the latest research from around the world.
HPV testing is undertaken on a vaginal or cervical sample, either a self-test or a clinician-taken sample. A clinician could take the HPV test on its on using a swab, or take a sample for cytology using a brush, and the HPV test is added on.
Outcome of 2021 Public Consultation on HPV Primary Screening Clinical Pathway to Introduce Self-Testing
A clinical pathway for the implementation of HPV primary screening – including the option of self-testing – has been finalised as a result of the public consultation carried out in 2021. This pathway will give everyone the option to complete a self-test or the option of a clinician-taken sample if that is their choice.
Feedback was extensive, with 105 online submissions from the sector and 11 consultation meetings. This feedback helped finalise the HPV primary screening clinical pathway and will inform the core elements of the clinical programme change.
The final HPV primary screening clinical pathway can be found in the feedback summary document:
- Thematic Feedback Analysis – NCSP Public Consultation on HPV Primary Screening Clinical Pathway to Introduce Self-Testing 2021 (PDF, 633 KB)
- Thematic Feedback Analysis – NCSP Public Consultation on HPV Primary Screening Clinical Pathway to Introduce Self-Testing 2021 (Word, 481 KB)
The consultation yielded recommendations and discussion on a wider range of topics than is covered by the scope of the HPV primary screening clinical pathway. The summary document provides a summation of the discussions and proposals, and encapsulates a comprehensive list of themes and issues, which have been grouped into broad categories.
A large number of recommendations are already planned as core workstreams within the NCSP for implementation of HPV primary screening from 2023. Further sector consultation will be undertaken to finalise specific requirements to support the implementation of the programme change.
2015 public consultation: HPV Primary Screening
In 2015, the Ministry undertook a public consultation in preparation for implementing HPV primary screening
Frequently asked questions
Answers to frequently asked questions about proposed changes to the cervical screening test in New Zealand.