Cervical screening for healthcare providers

Key points about cervical screening

  • This page provides information about the changes to cervical screening in Aotearoa New Zealand effective from 12 September 2023.
  • It includes clinical guidelines, training packs, funding information and webinars for healthcare provider education.
  • A separate page providing information for patients can be found in the Health A-Z section. 
peach unaunahi tile
Print this page

Age range change for cervical screening

In November 2019 the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) changed the recommended starting age for cervical screening from 20 to 25 years. People aged between 20 and 24 who have already been screened should continue with screening.

2023 changes

From 12 September 2023 the test is changing from taking liquid based cytology samples to human papilloma virus (HPV) screening of cells taken using a vaginal swab. This can be taken by a healthcare provider or by the patient as a self-swab.

Changes to the test(external link) Time to Screen, NZ, 2023
Using and HPV test for primary cervical screening from July 2023(external link) RNZCGP, NZ, 2023
HPV primary screening funding(external link) Te Aka Whai Ora, NZ, 2023. Information about which screening and follow-up tests are funded. Flowchart.(external link)

The 2023 Clinical practice guidelines for cervical screening in Aotearoa New Zealand(external link) have been developed for practitioners providing health services across the cervical screening pathway. The guidelines aim to provide a standardised national approach in order to assist providers to achieve best-practice outcomes.  

The change to HPV testing starts from September 12, 2023.  

Additional resources include:

More information available on the Time to Screen site(external link).

VIDEO: programme overview

(National Screening Unit, NZ, 2023)

Smear taker training(external link) National Screening Unit, NZ

Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.