Changes to NCSP legislation

The Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill passed on 23 June 2021 and amends Part 4A of the Health Act 1956 (the Act). Part 4A of the Act did not anticipate the information technology that is now available.

The National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) uses HPV testing as the primary screening test.


Visit the Te Whatu Ora website for current information about NCSP HPV Primary Screening:


The information below is provided only as archive reference material.



The amendment will enable the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) to take advantage of modern information technology by providing direct look-up access to health providers providing screening services. It will pave the way for the programme to transition to human papillomavirus (HPV) primary screening, which causes 99 percent of cervical cancers.

The changes will enable cervical screening to be more efficient as health providers will be able to access participants’ screening histories in a wider range of settings:

  • Once the new Register is in place, screening providers will be able to have immediate look-up access to a person’s screening history. This is crucial to ensure appropriate clinical information is available for clinical decision-making. Currently, when a woman goes to a health professional and her screening history is needed, this is sent by fax.
  • After hours and community-based screening providers will particularly benefit from look-up access to the register. It will enable them to have clinical information about participants who may not know their screening history, or when they were last screened.

The requirements in the Kaitiaki Regulations are unchanged, however a new clause 6A provides clarity on when approval of the National Kaitiaki Group is required for Ministry use of data that identifies participants as being Māori.

Other changes are that the Act:

  • Provides changes to who authorises access to the NCSP Register for specific functions.
  • Introduces minor technical definition changes:
    • amendments to the definitions of ‘screening test’, ‘diagnostic test’ and ‘specimen’’
    • a change to the new section 112J (4) (d) relating to the disclosure of information for the purpose of enabling the compilation and publication of non-identifiable statistics from the Register. The change is to use the phrase “unless the disclosure is prohibited by” instead of “in accordance with”
    • a change to the definition of the NCSP Register to ensure that it captures any data that was on a previous register that has been replaced.
    • a consequential change to the Health (Cervical Screening (Kaitiaki)) Regulations 1995 so it is consistent with the new definition of the NCSP Register in the principal Act.
  • Introduces a penalty for amending information on the Register without the authorisation of the NCSP manager.
  • Allows the NCSP manager to put conditions on access to the register for the purpose of ensuring privacy and security of the material or information.
Page last updated: 27 July 2021