Work underway to further strengthen National Cervical Screening Programme – Minister

A copy of the latest Parliamentary Review Committee report is available on the NSU website.
A copy of the latest Parliamentary Review Committee report is available on the NSU website.
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says a review of the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) shows it is successfully reducing cervical cancer rates, and work is underway to further strengthen the programme.

‘The latest Parliamentary Review Committee (PRC) report shows the number of women developing and dying from cervical cancer has reduced by 60 percent since the screening programme was introduced in 1990,’ says Dr Coleman. ‘This report provides a valuable benchmark and a clear set of recommendations which will help to strengthen the programme.’

A number of priority areas are highlighted in the report. These include addressing the participation barriers experienced by Māori women, auditing screening histories of women who develop cervical cancer, completion of the e-colposcopy project - which sees district health board colposcopy services provide data electronically to the NCSP Register - clinical leadership, and transition to human papillomavirus (HPV) screening. The World Health Organization now recommends using HPV testing as the primary test to screen for cervical abnormalities.

Dr Coleman says the National Screening Unit (NSU) currently has work underway to address the report’s key recommendations.

‘There are a number of initiatives to address the barriers to screening experienced by Māori, Pacific and Asian women, the e-colposcopy project is on track for completion by December 2015, and protocols are being developed for a primary HPV test.

‘The programme’s clinical leadership is also being strengthened and an audit is being undertaken on cases where women developed cervical cancer.’

The screening programme, which is available to women aged between 20 and 70, is subject to a PRC process every three years. A copy of the latest report is available here.

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Page last updated: 31 August 2015