The Department of Health has provided revised guidelines for health care providers on managing cervical screening participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where possible The National Cervical Screening Program (the Program) is encouraging health care providers to continue to offer routine screening and follow-up.
The Program recognises some providers/clinics may have different capabilities during the pandemic, whilst some patients may feel uncomfortable or concerned about attending a screening at this time. Where it is not possible to provide screening, the guidance can assist clinician decision-making, based on individual patient circumstances, including deferral and rescheduling of appointments for low-risk individuals. To review management guidelines for cervical screening visit the Cancer Screening website.
Due to the government cancellation of elective surgeries, guidance has also been developed for the management of patients who require treatment or further investigation during this period. This guidance is supported by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Australian Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.
If you decide to defer a patient’s screening, practice staff are requested to notify the National Cancer Screening Register by phone on 1800 627 701 or on the National Cancer Screening website to ensure subsequent reminders can be sent to patients at the correct time.
Australia’s only dedicated cervical cancer support program, CerviCan, is still operating by supporting women and families impacted by cervical cancer. The team at the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation are now all working from home, but can still be contacted by calling 1300 727 630 to leave a message and someone will return the call as soon as possible.
The Department of Health and the National Cancer Screening Program will continue to monitor COVID-19 impacts on the program, and provide any future updates on the Cancer Screening website.