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The NSW Cervical Screening Program and NSW Pap Test Register

The NSW Pap Test Register is a central and confidential record of NSW women’s cervical tests. A woman’s individual information will not be disclosed to anyone other than the woman, her health practitioner and the laboratory that is producing her test results.

It is a key part of the NSW Cervical Screening Program, which aims to reduce the incidence of, and mortality from, preventable cervical cancer.

The register acts as a safety net to remind women and their health practitioner when a cervical test is overdue and the Cancer Institute NSW can ensure that women who return an abnormal test result receive the necessary follow-up care.

It also provides greater efficiency with the analysis of results and assists us in further understanding cervical cancer and the best possible treatment methods.

The NSW Pap Test Register is operated by the Cancer Institute NSW as part of the Commonwealth and State funded NSW Cervical Screening Program.

New screening test recommendations

The Federal Government has undertaken a review of the national cervical screening program to ensure it continues to be as effective as it can be. The recommended changes to screening procedures are not anticipated to come into effect before 2016, so it is still vital that women continue to have their Pap tests as soon as they are due.

You can find out more about these changes on the Cervical Screening NSW website.

What information is on the register?

Information recorded on the register can include:

  • woman's name, address, date of birth, ethnicity and Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander origin status
  • details of the health practitioner who took the test
  • the date of the test and the name of the laboratory that processed it
  • the results of Pap tests, cervical histology tests or HPV DNA tests.

In accordance with the NSW Public Health Act 2010 and the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, this information is strictly confidential and is only made available to the woman or:

  • her health practitioner
  • the laboratory that processed the test
  • ethically approved cervical cancer research projects.

How is information gathered and used?

The Register helps women by:

  • sending a reminder letter for overdue Pap tests
  • working with health practitioners to make sure their patients have had follow-up care if they have an abnormal test result
  • keeping a history of test results to provide information to help both the laboratory analysing the Pap tests and  health practitioners
  • assisting in the gathering of information that will help improve our understanding of cervical cancer and its treatment.

When women have a Pap test, cervical biopsy or HPV DNA test, the information will automatically be sent to the Register by the laboratory processing your test.

Women will be sent a welcome letter the first time the Register receives their details to confirm they have joined the Register.

Inclusion on the registry

Almost 100 per cent of all women who have a Pap test are on the Register, however, being included on the Register is voluntary.

If you do not want your name and address to be included on the Register, tell your health practitioner at the time of your test and ask them to mark your test clearly 'not for Pap Test Register'.

If you choose not to participate in the Register you will not be sent a reminder letter when you are overdue for a test. Also, your test histories will not be available to assist the laboratory in analysing any new cervical test.

If at any time you wish to be removed from the program, you can withdraw your details from the Register by writing to the Register. Your name and address will then be removed. However, your date of birth and test results will remain on the Register to assist in monitoring and evaluating the Cervical Screening Program.

Health practitioners

Requests for individual health record data are managed via the Pap Test Infoline 1800 671 693 or via email.

Download the form for requesting more than five individual records.

Researchers

For other data requests please contact the NSW Cervical Screening Program.

Contact the Register

The Pap Test Register can be contacted by phone on the Pap Test Register Infoline 1800 671 693 (free call within NSW) between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday. For information in another language, call the Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

The Register can be contacted by email at nswpaptest@cancerinstitute.org.au, online,  or by fax on (02) 8374 5695.

The Register can also be contacted by mail at the following address: 

NSW Pap Test Register
Locked Bag 9014
Alexandria
NSW 1435

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Don't just sit there - have a pap smear every two years