National Cervical Screening Programme, Update December 2021

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 08:34

The last year has been another busy and challenging year for many and we hope as the end of year and summer approaches that you all have the opportunity to have a break and recharge and reconnect with whānau and friends.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the incredible mahi you and your teams continue to do to support wāhine and whānau to access and return to screening, whilst dealing with a myriad of other challenges brought on by the pandemic.

We have an exciting couple of years ahead of us planning and preparing with you for the changes and opportunities that the new screening test and a new ICT system will provide.
The project team is on board and we are setting up the initial working groups and programme advisory group roles. There are a number of ways that you can be involved and share your knowledge and experience to support the smooth transition.

We hope you keep safe over the holiday period. Have a well-deserved break and we look forward to working with you closely in 2022.

HPV primary screening

As you will know, the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) is moving to primary HPV screening from July 2023 after a successful budget bid in 2021 to provide the funding. This has been anticipated and will have a positive impact across our communities.

HPV primary screening is a more effective test at detecting the risk of developing cervical cancer and is expected to further reduce cervical cancer. In addition, it allows: - Opportunity to safely transition from a three-yearly to a five-yearly screening interval. - The option of self-testing, which will also create opportunities to deliver screening more easily in community settings as well as in primary health care settings. This change will remove some of the barriers to accessing screening and has been shown to be more acceptable in particular for Māori and Pacific whānau.

The NCSP is in progress of planning and designing the transition to HPV screening and there is a great deal of work to do before July 2023.
To achieve the best possible results in terms of equity and quality we need to consider and seek feedback on many aspects of the new programme before implementation. We have a focus on delivering a safe transition to this new test, and we are prioritising the delivery of clinically safe services during and after transition to the new primary screening test.

Part of this is continuing to assure participants about the clinical safety and effectiveness of the current screening programme, and the importance of continuing regular cervical screening until the new programme is implemented in 2023. The NCSP will be launching media campaigns in early 2022 to support Māori and Pacific wāhine and whānau to continue with regular cervical screening.
As part of the programme implementation the NCSP is working on:

  • Developing and building a fit for purpose ICT system to support the new clinical pathway on the National Screening Solution platform.
  • Updating policies and guidelines.
  • Establishing working groups to help inform and confirm requirements across the programme change.

The new NCSP Register

A new register provides a myriad of opportunities. The new register will be supported by a new population health database, which will allow health care providers to have direct look-up access to NHI level information to support eligible people under their care to engage in screening.

It will provide the opportunity to identify participants enrolled in primary care and will also be able to identify unenrolled populations. With this, there is an opportunity to notify and recall people centrally, to support the work of cervical screening providers. These two opportunities are significant for being able to increase participation rates in the future.

We will be reaching out to establish working groups to better understand the needs of both wāhine and whānau, and cervical screening providers to enable this change. This includes understanding what is required from the new register and the population health database to do their work effectively.

Working groups to inform the implementation of HPV primary screening

A number of working groups will be established to help inform the programme change that many of you may be interested to join. These working groups will help to confirm future requirements, test concepts, and identify resource requirements and approaches for screening. Equity is a driving factor in the implementation of HPV primary screening and the working groups will embrace the principles of collaboration and consultation to drive the equitable health outcomes for Māori and Pacific wāhine and whānau. As whānau voices are integral to these changes we will be seeking this important voice for the groups.

The initial groups are coming together and will be established in the new year. If you have an interest in participating in any of the working groups below, please contact our Project Change Manager, [email protected].

  • Laboratory Working Group
  • Clinical Pathway / Colposcopy Advisory Panel
  • Register Services Working Group
  • Cervical Screen Takers Working Group – (require two additional GP representatives and two Practice Nurse representatives).
  • Kaimanaaki (equitable access to services) Working Group – (Regional Coordinators, Support to Screening representatives, primary health care representatives)

In addition to the working groups, we will be setting up regular monthly meetings with providers and advocacy groups to keep you informed and provide opportunities for feedback. If you’d like to be involved, email [email protected].

Clinical pathway for HPV primary screening

The new clinical pathway to support HPV primary screening was consulted on in early 2021. The results of this consultation will be published on the website by the end of January 2022.

NCSP General Update

NSU Co-design project The National Screening Unit is initiating a co-design process to support equitable breast and cervical screening outcomes for Māori and Pacific wāhine and whānau that are eligible for screening.

‘Me aro ki te hā o Hineahuone – a national evaluation of breast and cervical Screening Support Services’ highlighted the need for systemic change across breast and cervical services if equity is to be achieved. The co-design project will take a Breast Screen Aotearoa (BSA) and NCSP programme service delivery perspective and will not just focus on Support to Screening Services. The co-design process will involve pilots to investigate different options for people to access services differently. Piloting of self-testing options may be investigated as part of the co-design project. The co-design process will start in early 2022 and is estimated to take approximately two years and will inform requirements for developing future service delivery models.

Laboratory update

The Ministry is currently engaging in a procurement process for laboratory services to support the new primary screening test from July 2023. Responses will be reviewed in the first half of 2022 with decisions announced in mid-2022.

NCSP Advisory Group

The NCSP is establishing a new Advisory Group. This will be the primary advisory group for the NCSP. The group will be based on a Te Tiriti partnership model and will focus predominately on equity. The role of the NCSP Advisory Group is to help build understanding, collect and disseminate advice, maintain connection with professional and advocacy groups on behalf of NCSP. The advice provided will be used by the NCSP to inform, improve and support NCSP activities and policy. The new NCSP Advisory Group is intended to be established in early 2022. Documents for the new NCSP Advisory Group will be sent out soon. If you are interested in joining the group, please email [email protected] for more information. FAQs -

New members of the NCSP Team

Introducing Nadine Riwai

Tēnā koutou

He uri au no Ngati Porou, he mokopuna o nga Kiore o Ohinewaiapu, he uri hoki no Te Uri o Hau Ngati Whatua, me Ngai Takoto i taha o taku Mama. Ko Nadine Riwai (nee Goldsmith) ahau.
Born and bred Gisborne/East Coast girl, married to Craig (Tuwharetoa, Raukawa) and Mum to our 22 year old daughter Kesha.

Been living in the Waikato since 2007. My background over the past 25 years includes a variety of roles within Youth Work, Health Promotion, Mental Health, Public Health, Oncology and General Practice. From July 2018 through to 19th November 2021 I held the role as the Specialist Clinical Nurse / Regional Coordinator for Cervical Screening at the Waikato DHB.

I’m also privileged to be a member on the Smear your Mea trust in memory of Talei and her legacy. As I’ve held a nurse hat for so long it’s been hard for me to let go straight away, so I’m happy I get to remain casual with the DHB to screen outside clinic hours ie, Saturdays, home visits and events, which I love. Plus remaining in a research team and study space for Māori cancer pathways in the hope of finally completing a Masters of Nursing next year.
As of 22nd November, I joined the NCSP team at the Ministry of Health as Senior Portfolio Manager, stepping into Robyn Blue’s shoes, or at least trying on one shoe at the moment.

I’m especially passionate about wāhine’s health and the holistic wellbeing of our whānau so they have positive experiences and share and korero this with their whānau and networks. Also, highlighting what awesome mahi is happening regionally and how we can increase our voice, and to manaaki and awhi each other along the way.

Mahia te mahi hei painga mo te iwi
Ngaa mihi maioha
Nadine Riwai BN, PG Dip Adv Nursing

Introducing Jane Grant
Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Jane Grant toku ingoa, no Ōtepōti ahau, ko Tāmāki Makaurau toku kainga. I’m a Dunedin girl born and bred but Auckland has been my home for 20 years and is where my whānau are.

I’m a Nurse and my background is working in Primary Care and immunisation outreach; for the last seven years I have worked for Auckland and Waitematā DHBs as a Cervical Screening Nurse Specialist where I am privileged to be involved with HPV self-testing research, I am continuing to work one day of the week as part of the research team. My whānau have been touched by cervical cancer, my cousins live without their Māma who we lost in 2001 – bringing their story and journey is an important part of life and work for me and our whānau.

I’ve joined the NCSP as a Relationship Manager as part of the transition to HPV primary screening and it’s incredibly exciting to be part of this mahi, I’m looking forward to meeting all of the amazing whānau involved in screening, please do reach out for a chat.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koe
Jane Grant
Ngā manaakitanga o te wa Kirihimete me te Tau Hou National Cervical Screening Programme

Page last updated: 07 December 2021