Information for health professionals

As a health professional, your role is critical to the success of the National Cervical Screening Program and its objective to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in NSW.

Research has shown that women are more likely to undertake cervical screening:

  • if their health professional has discussed screening with them
  • at the recommendation of their health professional

For female patients, health professionals are an important source of information about cervical screening. By providing a friendly, safe and sensitive environment, your support is fundamental in a woman’s decision to have a potentially life-saving Cervical Screening Test (the Pap test replacement*).

More information

Cervical screening has changed

In December 2017, a number of changes were introduced to the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). These changes included:

  • Replacing the Pap test with the Cervical Screening Test, which detects human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Changing the screening interval from two years to five years for women with normal (HPV-negative) resuls
  • Changing the screening entry age from 18 to 25
  • Changing the screening exit age from 69 to 74
  • Establishing the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR)

Get all the details on the National Cervical Screening Renewal

How can you support patients in cervical screening?

As part of your discussions with women about cervical screening, it is important to help your patients understand aspects such as:

  • What cervical screening involves
  • Why screening is important
  • Why the Cervical Screening Test is relevant to them
  • What their test results mean

Find out more about your role in screening

Cervical screening in general practice

Health professionals working within general practices perform around 85% of cervical screening in NSW.

As a health professional in a general practice, you are ideally placed to introduce and discuss the topic of cervical screening. This is particularly important when engaging with women who are reluctant to screen, as well as those who may have forgotten they are overdue for their Cervical Screening Test.

Nurses in general practice and community health

Female nurses have a vital role in cervical screening, as they often provide Cervical Screening Tests in locations where women may otherwise only have access to a male doctor.

Nurses also play an important part in reaching women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, older women, and women who may have never had a Cervical Screening Test before.

Cervical screening resources for health professionals

Our Resources directory features a wide range of fact sheets, references and publications on cervical screening for health professionals.

Visit the Document Library

Cervical Screening Guidelines

These guidelines from Cancer Council Australia are designed to educate health professionals on the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.

View guidelines on the Cancer Council Australia website

*In December 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test as the method of screening women to prevent cervical cancer in Australia.