About the program

The National Cervical Screening Program aims to reduce illness and deaths from cervical cancer by encouraging women to have regular cervical screening.

Page last updated: 22 May 2017

The National Cervical Screening Program was established in 1991 as a joint initiative of the Australian and state and territory governments to provide better protection against cervical cancer.

Major policy decisions about the program are determined through the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) committee structure.

The screening program involves:

  • encouraging all eligible women to enter and remain in the screening program
  • ensuring optimal quality of cervical screening with training for test providers
  • ensuring optimal quality of cervical screening reading through a quality assurance program for laboratories
  • ensuring appropriate follow-up of abnormal cervical screening results through management guidelines
  • providing an efficient system for notifying women of results from cervical screening providers
  • providing recall and reminder systems to ensure adequate follow-up of women with screen-detected abnormalities
  • maintaining women’s participation in the program by encouraging providers to set up reminder systems and maintain cervical screening registers
  • reporting on national performance measures and contributing to national cancer data.

The renewed National Cervical Screening Program

The Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program will be implemented on 1 December 2017.

Until the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is implemented, our world-class cervical cancer screening program will continue. It is important that women aged between 18-69 years continue to have Pap smears every two years and talk to their doctor or health care professional if they have any questions.

Read more about the Future changes to the National Cervical Screening Program 

More information for health care professionals on the arrangements for cervical cancer screening between now and 1 December 2017 is available on our FAQ page

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