Have your say on the updated clinical guidelines for cervical screening

Have your say!
Have your say!
In September, the National Screening Unit released the updated clinical guidelines for the cervical screening programme for public consultation.

The clinical guidelines provide high-level direction to clinicians caring for women on the cervical screening pathway, and are being updated to align with the move to human papilloma virus (HPV) primary screening in 2018. The updated guidelines are expected to be available by the end of this year and operative in 2018.

Key updates to the guidelines are:

  • changing the primary test for cervical screening from three-yearly cytology, which detects whether women have cell changes that could lead to cancer, to five-yearly HPV screening
  • increasing the age women start having smear tests from 20 to 25 due to evidence that screening of younger women does more harm than good.

The guidelines have been developed by a group of pathologists, gynaecologic oncologists, and colposcopists, working closely with Australian colleagues who are also working towards introducing HPV primary screening.

Finalising these guidelines is critical to progressing the implementation of HPV primary screening in 2018. Modelling work to predict future work volumes for laboratories, colposcopy clinics, and development of the programme register will be based on the updated screening pathway.

Public consultation on the proposed changes is underway and closes on Friday 28 October. The draft guidelines are available online. The proposal was the subject of a public consultation process in 2015.

Find out more about the consultation process and the age change.

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Page last updated: 04 October 2016