National Cervical Screening Programme Sector Update – December 2022
In this last Sector Update for the year, we’d like to mihi to the awesome mahi done around the motu to keep people on the cervical screening pathway. Great efforts have been made to recover from the impact COVID-19 had on screening numbers and on priority groups in particular. So a big thank you to the clinicians, the kaimahi and kaiāwhina who have worked so hard. We look forward to being back in touch in early 2023 as we move closer to the transition to HPV primary screening. Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou ki a koutou.
Mana Wāhine event
The team at Puhi Kaiti Community Health Centre in Turanganui-a-kiwa Gisborne has been going over and above for their local community and recently managed to get a 50% increase in the number of people screening – many of whom had not had a cervical screen in the past five years.
Teamwork and a tireless approach to contacting about 1400 people who were overdue for a screen paid off.
Sending out a fortnightly mobile van to conduct screens in homes also helped to achieve the huge success in screening numbers.
Everyone who screened got a care pack and was entered into a monthly draw to win supermarket vouchers.
Team members pictured are (L-R): Nancy Aupouri, Jenna Walker, Marianne Craig, Viki Hiha, June Cumberland, Dr Deborah Bromley, Diane McMillan, Beryl Waikari, Kini Sarubasaga, Te Ara Priest and Sonia Terekia.
Vivienne Steele retirement
A stalwart of screening in the South Island was farewelled recently when Vivienne Steele retired. Originally from Ōtautahi Christchurch, Viv entered the health sector at the Canterbury District Health Board as administrative support for the NCSP in 1991, later being promoted to Regional Register Coordinator, then Regional Manager. In 2015 the service transferred to ScreenSouth where Viv resumed her Register Coordination role. In 2021 her role changed again to Cervical Screening Manager where she has worked with the Register and Health Promotion teams and stakeholders to improve access to cervical screening for priority groups.
“The idea of working for a programme with the goal to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer amongst women in New Zealand was very appealing. I felt very proud to be part of the programme and to work alongside other health professionals to make a difference,” says Viv.
“The programme has gone through a lot of change over many years, changing from an opt on service to opt off, the change to liquid-based cytology which has made a big improvement to sample quality, centralising the NCSP Register to Wellington, many enhancements to the NCSP Register, improved communications to wāhine enrolled on the programme, to name a few. The change to HPV primary screening which is on the horizon for July 2023 is the latest improvement for cervical screening in New Zealand.
“Thank-you to everyone that I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know over all these years, I have made some great lifelong friends. I have loved working for the programme, the work has been challenging and rewarding and I am forever thankful for what I have learnt and achieved. Keep up the amazing mahi!”
Viv is looking forward to taking some time out to enjoy the summer months, get in some walking and biking and catching up with family and friends.
Ride 4 Talei
Ride for Talei honours the memory and legacy of the late Talei Morrison who passed from cervical cancer, aged 42 years in June 2018. Talei initiated the Smear Your Mea campaign which raises awareness and provides education about the importance of culturally-appropriate resources, support and information for cervical screening. In particular as a kaihaka for her rōpū Te Mātārāe i Ōrehu, she issued the challenge to kaihaka wāhine to be screened before they take to stage in the Te Matatini Kapa Haka festival.
The first Ride for Talei was in 2019, being the first Te Matatini without her on stage. Yet the message was heard and over 50 wāhine were screened at Te Matatini.
Ride 4 Talei will now take the mauri of Talei from Wellington to Auckland for the 2023 National Te Matatini Kapa Festival.
The NSU is honoured to support the kaupapa and has provided funding to support the Smear Your Mea Trust’s health promotion initiative, Ride 4 Talei 2023.
Approximately, 20 cyclists (whānau and friends of Talei) led by Te Ururoa Flavell, will cycle 700 kilometres over seven days from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
A camper van will be set up as part of the supporting crew and offer cervical screening along the ride, manned by Nadine Riwai, husband Craig and Dr Kasey Tawhara, and there will be coordination and support for health providers to run free screening clinics while the cyclists visit the towns/cities across the North Island. Smear Your Mea have also partnered with rohe health providers including ProCare to provide onsite screening throughout the duration of Te Matatini at Eden Park.
Based on 2019 numbers, the Te Matatini kapa haka festival is expected to reach 1,350,000 global viewers, 3000 performers, and 420,000 attendees.
“The health of my body, mind and spirit are all related and anyone who cares for my health should take that into account” – Kaa Anderson What’s happening in the NCSP
The Best Practice Advocacy Centre New Zealand (BPACNZ) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which delivers educational and continuing professional development programmes to medical practitioners and other health professional groups throughout New Zealand. BPAC recently prepared an article on cervical cancer which can be found here: https://bpac.org.nz/2022/cervical-cancer.aspx
The article was expert reviewed by Dr Margaret Sage, Cytopathologist, Clinical Lead – Pathology, National Cervical Screening Unit and Dr Howard Clentworth, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Clinical Lead – Colposcopy, National Cervical Screening Unit.
BPAC will publish more in its series of gynae cancer articles in December and January.
NCSP Parliamentary Review Committee
The Parliamentary Review Committee has completed their report which will be tabled in Parliament soon and will be publicly available. Details on the review are available here.
NCSP Advisory and Action Rōpū
The rōpū will meet again on 15 December. Minutes of previous meetings can be found here.
Support to Screening Services web page
The web page for our SSS teams, supporting the work of both the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) and BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) is available here.
Screening support services are available for eligible wāhine/whānau who are referred to, or who independently access services from the support to screening provider. This support can assist wāhine/whānau who experience barriers to accessing breast and cervical screening, assessment, and treatment services. Some support to screening providers have mobile teams who make community visits and home visits, while others are based in clinics around the motu.
Coverage app goes monthly
The NCSP coverage app has been updated and will now be updated monthly here.
What’s happening with the HPV Primary Screening Project
July 2023 remains the target date for the move to HPV primary screening.
Webinar and Resources
We have created a new page on the NSU website with summaries of information from the Goodfellow Unit webinar held in September. The page can be found here and contains.
- A PDF of Dr John McMenamin’s original presentation.
- A link to the Goodfellow Unit website recording.
- A PDF of questions received from attendees, grouped into relevant sections, and answers provided by our clinical team.
- A PDF called Moving to HPV testing for primary cervical screening, which provides more detailed and expanded content than the original presentation, and which the sector can call on as a further resource.
About 1500 health professionals attended the webinar, where we addressed the twin themes of why it is important that people continue to screen between now and the transition to HPV primary screening in July 2023, and the choices that will be available to participants, including self-testing.
The presentation can be viewed at https://www.goodfellowunit.org/node/1117705
A special shout out too to the Auckland Waitemata NCSP team for setting up the Goodfellow webinar. It has proven a very successful channel to inform the sector of our key messages.
Colposcopy Nurses Meet
After several years the Colposcopy Nurses gathered together on 28 October for a Colposcopy Nurses Study Day, held in Dunedin and run by the Southern Otago Colposcopy Team. The HPV Primary Screening Project Team ran a session to share information about the Project and what this means for colposcopy.
Cervical screen-taker update
The NCSP and HPV Primary Screening project team presented to about 150 screen takers in Canterbury and South Canterbury on 24 November, detailing the transition to HPV testing. Topics included equity, Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles in the programme, empowering participants with choices, the new clinical pathway and future training requirements for screen takers. Many thanks to ScreenSouth and their Primary Care Liaison Olivia Maisey for organising the online hui.
PHA Article on the transition to HPV primary screening
The Public Health Association aims to gather knowledge, share and learn with others in public health, influence policy to improve the health of all New Zealanders and keep up to date with events and issues in the public health sector. Its work is underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A detailed article on the background to cervical screening in Aotearoa New Zealand, equity goals and the transition to HPV primary screening was prepared for the PHA, with extensive input by Dr Margot McLean, Equity Lead for the NCSP. The article can be found at https://www.pha.org.nz/page-18200/12952503
Updated Clinical Practice Guidelines
The Updated NCSP Clinical Practice Guidelines are currently being finalised and edited before being published.
IMAGE NCSP Policies and Standards Work is progressing on the NCSP Policies and Standards, with feedback from the Working Groups collated and reviewed. They will now be edited before being published.
New HPV Primary Screening Resources
The NCSP is progressing work to develop the new public-facing resources that are culturally-engaging and inclusive. This work will be undertaken by a provider with strong community links supported the Chairs of the Māori and Pacific Campaign & Resources Advisory Groups, as well as representatives of the LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities.
Signing of agreements are expected soon to conclude negotiations to procure national laboratory services. Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand will be making an announcement soon.
Answers to Your Questions
We are receiving regular feedback and questions to [email protected]. The FAQs are updated regularly.
More information is available on the website here: Frequently asked questions (nsu.govt.nz).
Staying in Touch
If you have colleagues who would also like to receive this monthly update, they can join the distribution list by emailing us at [email protected]
We really appreciate your feedback and are here to answer any questions you may have.
Noho ora mai NCSP Team