Self-collection now available for cervical screening – Information for healthcare providers

From 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program will allow all eligible screeners to collect their own Cervical Screening Test sample.

Date published:
Health sector

New changes to the National Cervical Screening Program mean that all eligible screeners – women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 74 – will be able to choose to have a Cervical Screening Test either by:

  • taking your own sample from your vagina, using a simple swab (self-collection)
  • having a healthcare provider collect your sample from the cervix using a speculum.

Both options are:

  • free under Medicare – so if your healthcare provider bulk bills for consultations, the whole thing is free
  • accessed through a healthcare provider
  • accurate and safe ways to collect a sample for a Cervical Screening Test.

These changes mean that you/your practice/your members may start to see an increase in the volume of requests from patients to use self-collection as an option for their Cervical Screening Test.

Self-collection has the potential to reach under-screened patients, overcoming barriers to cervical screening by providing a more culturally appropriate and sensitive screening option. Self-collection is not appropriate for those who require a co-test, for example because they are symptomatic or are undergoing Test of Cure surveillance.

We have created a healthcare provider toolkit with useful resources to assist you in supporting your patients.

The National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding have been updated to support the expansion of self-collection and will come into effect on 1 July 2022.

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