Happy 50th Screening Matters!

The very first issue of Screening Matters
The very first issue of Screening Matters
This is the 50th issue of Screening Matters, so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the stories since the first issue was published in April 2004 and see just how far we’ve come!

The very first issue of Screening Matters looked at changes to the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) that were to be implemented the following year, as required under the recently passed Health (NCSP) Amendment Act.

The Act implemented several key recommendations from the April 2001 Ministerial Inquiry into the under-reporting of cervical smear abnormalities in the Gisborne region, as well as changes suggested by the Parliamentary Health Select Committee.

A National Screening Unit (NSU) Māori Advisory Group had just been appointed to provide strategic advice on the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the breast and cervical screening programmes. There was particular emphasis on assisting the NSU to achieve its goal of reducing inequalities by improving coverage and participation for Māori women.

Issue one also covered the extension of the BreastScreen Aotearoa (BSA) programme to include women from their 45th birthday up until their 70th birthday.

A couple of years later, the June 2006 issue featured a story about the newly-established Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme, with the Government’s announcement of a $16m funding package over four years.

The September 2008 issue covered the recent update to the BSA National Policy and Quality Standards. The updated standards incorporated revised targets for the new age ranges from 50-64 to 45-69.

There was also coverage of a new BSA communications campaign to encourage women, particularly Māori and Pacific women, to go for two-yearly breast screening.

July 2009’s Screening Matters discussed the implementation of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as part of the Guidelines for Cervical Screening in New Zealand in October of that year. There was also a story about a new workforce of around 100 newborn hearing screeners being prepared to deliver newborn hearing screening across New Zealand.

It was exciting times in December 2009, issue 20, when the previously hard copy newsletter went electronic!

September 2012’s Cervical Screening Awareness Month was featured in the October 2012 issue. In South Auckland, women who had had a cervical smear were invited to bring a woman friend to a ‘pamper journey’ where, as well as having a smear, they received foot spas, massages, facials, a health check and lunch.

‘While you are here, book your smear’ t-shirts were provided to GP practices across the MidCentral DHB region as a novel way for practice staff to get across the cervical smear message.

Over the last 10 years, Screening Matters has brought readers a range of stories, from programme developments to new research and service delivery successes to personal journeys.

Here’s to the next 50 issues!

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Page last updated: 25 February 2015