Your role as a health professional in cervical screening

Your relationship with your female patients is critical to the success of the NSW Cervical Screening Program and its achievements in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer in NSW women. The screening program relies on you and other health professionals across the country to advise women about the need for regular Pap tests and their role in avoiding cancer.

Even if a woman is embarrassed about having a Pap test, research has shown that she is likely to accept her health professional’s advice about having one. As a health professional, you can substantially reduce the possible emotional and psychological effects of screening among women who feel uncomfortable about the test and the possible outcomes.

Later, your patients are likely to be concerned about the implications of abnormal results. It’s important to explain the next steps and answer all questions clearly and sensitively.

Providing results

As a test provider, it is your responsibility to ensure your patients receive their results.

You may determine how this occurs, whether by having your patients call you, or ensuring that you call each patient when her result arrives. It is crucial that your system ensures you inform each woman of her result.

You should also emphasise to your patients that they contact you for their results, not the Pap Test Register or the NSW Cervical Screening Program.

Explaining the role of the Pap Test Register

As a Pap test provider, you are required to explain the role of the NSW Pap Test Register to your patients. This will include why a woman may have received a reminder letter from the Register.

You can call the Pap Test Register about a patient during her appointment. The Register can also help if you are concerned that a patient has not presented for regular screening.

Patient recall

You can request the names of your patients whose tests are overdue. You’ll receive patient details if you were the provider who performed the most recent Pap test.

As a Pap test provider, you can send your patient list to the Register and receive information about each woman’s screening history and who is overdue for a test. A reminder system or tagging patient files may be useful for keeping track of women who are due for a Pap test. Order file reminder stickers on our Resources and Publications section.

If you can’t reach a patient, you can call the Register's Infoline on 13 15 56 or on 1800 671 693 (free call in NSW) to identify whether that patient has been screened elsewhere.

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