Colposcopists

Colposcopists work in both public and private clinics and are important health practitioners working in the National Cervical Screening Programme in New Zealand.

Colposcopists are required to be qualified and registered to practice in New Zealand.  Please refer to Medical Council of New Zealand website  for further information.

All practising colposcopists: New RANZCOG certification programme

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) has commenced the certification process for doctors who wish to register as a practising colposcopist.

Please see the information from the College on how to obtain Certification as a Practising Colposcopist.

Please note: The NCSP will be amending the colposcopy standards to meet the requirements set by RANZCOG for practising colposcopists, in line with their time frame.

If you have any queries about their (re) certification programme, please send these directly to the College, contact details as follows:  Miss Jordan Chrisp, C-QUIP Coordinator, RANZCOG (jchrisp@ranzcog.edu.au)

Responsibilities of colposcopists

Colposcopists have responsibilities through:

  • the NCSP Policies and Standards to meet minimum volumes, requirements for participation in CME activities and best practice requirements
  • the maintenance and skill levels as required by RANZCOG, and
  • legislative requirements under the Health Act 1956, Part 4A.

Under Section 6:Providing a Colposcopy Service of the NCSP Policies and Standards,  there are general requirements that colposcopists should become familiar with and incorporate into their practice.  The Policies and Standards are requirements for colposcopists employed by DHBs but are also guidelines for colposcopists who work in private practice.

Relevant policies in Section 6 in summary

The relevant policies in Section 6 in summary are:

  • Colposcopy staffing policy: Colposcopists should be certified by the ColposcopyQuality Improvement Programme (C-QuIP), or be practising under the supervision of a certified colposcopist while working towards certification by C-QuIP. Colposcopists must be registered to practise in New Zealand and hold a current annual practising certificate with the New Zealand Medical Council or Nursing Council of New Zealand, practise according to the Guidelines for Cervical Screening in New Zealand 2008 and subsequent updates, maintain a minimum volume and spectrum of new referrals as per the standards and work closely with other health professionals and participate in multidisciplinary meetings in accordance with New Zealand guidelines.
  • Work practices policy:  This policy is to ensure that colposcopy service providers adhere to standard work practices and colposcopy assessments are accurately documented.
  • Support for women policy: Colposcopy services must be available and appropriate for all women and ensure that an individual woman's needs are met. For Māori women the Crown has duties and responsibilities to ensure improved health outcomes, and service providers have an obligation to fulfil these responsibilities. Colposcopy services must be appropriate and supportive of women from all ethnic groups and must ensure cultural competence throughout the service. Colposcopy services are also required to meet the diverse needs of women of all ages and sexual orientations.
  • Providing information to women during and after a colposcopy visit policy: Colposcopy services must ensure that women are provided with the necessary information during a visit and after diagnosis.

The Standards in Section 6 in summary are:

Standard 603:  One hundred percent of medical notes accurately record colposcopic findings at first and subsequent assessments (as per the data requirements listed in Appendix 2 of Section 6), and these are sent electronically to the NCSP-Register.

Standard 604:  Ninety percent or more of women will have been sent, and/or will have had discussed with them, their definitive diagnosis within 30 working days of their colposcopy visit.

Standard 606:  Eighty percent of women receiving LLETZ treatment are managed as outpatients/day patients under local analgesia.

Standard 607:  One hundred percent of women who have ablative treatment have had an adequate biopsy taken for histological diagnosis.

Standard 608:  Ninety percent or more of women treated for CIN2-3 should:

  • have a colposcopy and smear within the nine-month period post-treatment
  • be discharged back to the smear taker as appropriate.

Standard 610:  One hundred percent of colposcopy clinics and colposcopists participating in the NCSP must meet the requirements outlined in this standard to ensure colposcopy services are adequately staffed.

Standard 611:  One hundred percent of colposcopists:

  • maintain a minimum of 50 new cases per annum in New Zealand (the ideal number is 100 per annum), or a minimum of 150 cases over a three-year period
  • participate in continuing education activities, including peer review (including MDMs, audits, collegial review, RANZCOG requirements, case presentations) and attendance at a national or international colposcopy meeting at least every three years.

The following standards apply to the provision of colposcopy services by DHBs and colposcopists should be aware of these:

Standard 601: Recording referrals and informing women about colposcopy 
Standard 602: Ensuring timeliness of colposcopic assessment
Standard 605: Ensuring the timeliness of, and appropriate selection for, treatment
Standard 609: Managing women who did not attend (DNA)
Standard 612: Providing an adequate clinical environment
Standard 613: Provision of colposcopy data to the NCSP-Register

Typically all of the above Standards are monitored through audits undertaken by the NCSP and some regular reporting through the contract monitoring process.

Under the Health Act 1956, Part 4A, Section 112M all colposcopists are required to explain the colposcopic procedure to the woman and provide information about the objectives of the National Cervical Screening Programme and Register.  They must also report to the NCSP-Register, all information, free of charge, relevant to all referrals and visits of women to their colposcopy service.  This is done either electronically to the NCSP-Register or by completing paper forms and submitting these to the NCSP-Register.

Professional development

Colposcopists are required to be qualified to practice as a medical practitioner as well as having specialist training in Obstetrician and Gynaecology specialising in colposcopy.  They are required to be registered by the New Zealand Medical Council.

Information about continuing professional development requirements can be obtained from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Page last updated: 28 November 2014