About this item

Issue date:
16 May 2023
Corporate Author:
Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora
Document date:
1 December 2022
Screening, Women's health

"Me aro koe ki te hā o Hineahuone. Mai te tīmatanga, ko Papatūānuku, te whaea whenua, ko Hineahuone te ira tangata tuatahi, he wāhine. Tīhei Mauriora.”


Women lie at the heart of whānau and are the heart of the cervical screening programme. We hold up half the sky, we nurture, inspire, provoke and make significant contributions to the world. Ensuring the wellbeing of women is essential to the wellbeing of communities.


The fourth Parliamentary Review Committee for the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) was commissioned in 2021 and undertaken throughout 2022.


The NCSP is independently reviewed every three years. The review is legislated under Part 4A, Section 112O, of the Health Act 1956.


At the end of 2021 the Minister of Health, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall appointed previous member Ms Lianne Penney, and new members Dr Heather Came and Dr Georgina McPherson to undertake the review.


The Committee notes that while there has been steady improvement in cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates since the programme’s inception, the last few years have seen results plateau.


There are 31 recommendations in total across the areas of accessibility, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, elimination of cervical cancer, integration, monitoring and evaluation, co-governance and clinical governance, clinical quality assurance in colposcopy services, and workforce capacity and capability.


All of these recommendations have been made in the context of the imminent transition from cervical smears to human papillomavirus (HPV) self-testing, later this year.


The report provides practical recommendations for continuous quality and equity improvements, with a view to further reduce the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in Aotearoa, particularly for Māori and Pacific people who currently carry an inequitable burden of cervical cancer.


In partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora, we will now undertake a consultation and engagement process with our partners across the health system to finalise an action plan for implementing the recommendations in the report.


Further details about the Parliamentary Review Committee and the report is available from the National Screening Unit website.