Policy on transitioning women to the renewed National Cervical Screening Program

Page last updated: 30 April 2018

Policy objectives

  • To provide advice on how women already participating in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will be transitioned from two-yearly Pap smear cervical screening to five-yearly primary HPV screening.

Policy

Transition arrangements from 1 December 2017:
  • Women who are already participating in the program, and were aged 23 years or older and less than 70 years when they had their last Pap test, will be invited to screen at or within three months of the date when they would have been due for their two yearly Pap test.
  • Women who are already participating in the program, and were younger than 23 years of age when they had their last negative Pap test, will be sent a letter advising them of the changes to the NCSP and that they will receive an invitation to screen close to their 25th birthday.
  • Conventional Pap tests collected after 30 November 2017 will no longer attract a MBS rebate2 . A woman who has a conventional Pap test taken in the transition period after 30 November 2017 with a negative result will be invited to return for a HPV test in two years.
  • Women who have participated in the program, are overdue for their Pap test by less than two years, and are aged 25 years and over, will be advised that they are overdue for their screening test and will be reminded to screen.
  • Women who have participated in the program, are overdue for their Pap test by two years or more, and are over 30 years of age, will be invited to screen and will also be advised that they are eligible (if they would prefer) to self-collect a vaginal sample for screening under the guidance of their healthcare professional.
  • Women who have participated in the program and are aged 70 years or older and less than 75 years, will be invited to have an exit screening test.
  • Women who are already participating in the program and who have been treated for a cervical precancerous lesion will be invited to screen as recommended by the NCSP: Guidelines for the management of screen detected abnormalities, screening women in specific populations and investigation of women with abnormal vaginal bleeding (2016 Guidelines).
  • All women regardless of age who are undergoing follow-up and/or treatment for a cervical precancerous lesion will be followed up in accordance with the NCSP Protocols of Actions for Invitations, Rescreen, Follow-up and Reminders for the National Cancer Screening Register1.


1 Women who have never participated in the NCSP (have never had a cervical screening test) and who are over the age of 30 years will be invited to screen and will be advised that they are eligible to self-collect a cervical sample for screening under the guidance of their healthcare professional.
2 All effort will be made to ensure cervical screening test providers are adequately informed about the replacement of the Pap test with an HPV test for cervical screening and the associated Medicare rebates in the lead up to 1 December 2017.