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.