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The renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) and the National Cancer Screening Register were successfully launched on 1 December.

The National Cancer Screening Register is supporting the introduction of the new Cervical Screening Test. The register functions are being performed jointly between the National Cancer Screening Register and the state and territory registers, during a phased transition of state and territory data to the National Cancer Screening Register planned for completion by early March 2018.  

From 1 December, pathology test results are being sent to the National Cancer Screening Register. Call centre and screening history services will be performed by both the NCSR and state and territory registers. The state and territory registers will continue to provide pre-December screening histories through the transition period, and complete all other follow up that is required for Pap-test results received by the state and territory registers prior to 30 November 2017.  

Healthcare providers should follow existing processes with their pathology providers when requiring screening histories and contact the relevant state or territory register or the National Cancer Screening Register as a back-up.

Women will continue to be followed up between 1 December and the completion of the transition phase – there will be no gap in service. The National Cancer Screening Register will complete all urgent follow up reminders for screening results that detect or predict a cancer according to the 2016 Clinical Guidelines.  

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) Transition Quick Start Guide for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers should be aware of the guidelines on how to complete the pathology request form to ensure the correct pathology MBS items are claimed.

Pap tests are no longer eligible for a Medicare rebate. To avoid out of pocket fees for their patients, healthcare providers are asked to ensure that they are familiar with what to write on the pathology request form as outlined in the Pathology Test Guide for Cervical and Vaginal Testing.

To assist healthcare providers to understand the changes to the program, NPS MedicineWise, through its RADAR publication, has also posted a comprehensive article outlining what providers need to be aware of when requesting the new cervical screening test: https://www.nps.org.au/radar/articles/requesting-the-new-cervical-screening-test-what-providers-need-to-know.  

Self collection should not be offered to participants until further notice.

As previously advised, the renewed National Cervical Screening Program includes an option to self-collect to encourage women who are over 30 and have never had a screening test, or who have declined a clinician collected sample and are overdue for testing by at least two years, to participate in cervical screening. Self-collect can only be implemented when the laboratory and platform testing processes and equipment attain the various accreditation requirements, including those of NATA. Healthcare providers who collect cervical screening tests from women should not to offer self-collection until further advice on the appropriate accreditation is provided. Further information on timing will be communicated when this is available.

Further information

For further information on the National Cancer Screening Register, please go to www.ncsr.gov.au or contact 1800 627 701.  

Further information on the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program, including access to resources and training, please visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au/cervical or call 13 15 56.

 

[Source: Department of Health]

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