Cervical Screening Services
(West Coast Region)
Where to go for cervical screening tests
It is important that you feel comfortable with the person who takes your smear. You have a choice of where to go to have smears:
- your local doctor or practice nurse
- Family Planning
- your sexual health service
- community health services, community clinics (Well Womens, number thirtyseven)
Who should have cervical smear tests?
All women who have ever been sexually active should have regular cervical smear tests from the time they turn 20, until they turn 70. This includes:
- all women who have been immunised against HPV
- women who are single
- disabled women
- women who have been through menopause
- women who are no longer having sex
All women are advised to start having regular cervical smear tests at the age of 20. Screening at a younger age is not recommended, even if a woman has had sex. Screening from 20 onward is recommended because, in New Zealand, it is very rare for women under this age to develop cervical cancer.
Some older women think they do not need to have cervical smear tests, especially if they are no longer sexually active. However, there is still a chance that abnormal cells will appear in later life and progress to cancer. If older women continue to have regular cervical smear tests until they turn 70, it is likely that any abnormal cells will be found and treated before they become cancer.
Women who have never been sexually active do not need to have cervical smear tests.
Women who have had a subtotal hysterectomy (in which the cervix is not removed) need to continue to have cervical smear tests.
Women who have had a total hysterectomy (in which both the uterus and the cervix are removed) do not usually need to have smear tests unless advised to do so. Reasons they need to continue to have smear tests might include:
- a history of abnormal cell changes confirmed by biopsy
- cervical abnormalities found at the time of surgery
- having had the hysterectomy because of abnormal cells or cervical cancer.
Women who are pregnant or have a new baby and are due for a cervical smear test should check with their midwife, specialist or lead maternity carer (LMC) before having a smear. You can also ask your midwife or LMC to refer you to a smear taker, who will contact you.
Why would a woman need a smear more frequently than every three years?
A woman may be asked to have a smear at a shorter interval than three years if it is her first smear or she has not had a smear test for over five years. This is to reduce the chances of any abnormal cells being missed. If a woman has an unsatisfactory smear or an abnormal result, she will be asked to come back sooner. Her smear taker or doctor will advise her when to have her next smear or if she needs further checks. Women who are treated for a high grade abnormality are advised to have a cervical smear test each year.
Some women who have a lowered immune system and may be at higher risk of developing cervical cell abnormalities may be advised to have cervical smear tests each year.
See your Health Professional if you have:
- bleeding between menstrual periods
- bleeding after sexual intercourse
- bleeding after menstrual periods (menopause)
- unusual discharge from your vagina
- persistent pain in your pelvis
- pain during sexual intercourse
These symptoms can occur for many reasons, but they should be checked out.
Not sure when your smear is due?
If not sure when your smear is due you can find out by contacting any of the following:
West Coast NCSP Register Coordinator
Phone: (03) 769-7853 – please leave a message if the phone is unattended
National Cervical Screening Programme
Ph: 0800 729 729
Or by asking your doctor or nurse
National Cervical Screening Programme
Phone 0800 729 729
Your local doctor or practice nurse
Contact details for all medical centres available in the West Coast phone directory.
NZ Family Planning
Phone: (03) 768-0895
Link Rooms, Grey Base Hospital
West Coast NCSP
Phone: (03) 768-2799
Community Services, Grey Base Hospital
Phone or text:
Dickie Dewes 021 266-7401
Tina Fox 027 471-8178
Sexual Health Clinic: Buller Hospital
Sexual Health Nurse: Lynley Pratt
Phone (03) 788-9030, ext 8756
Buller Medical Services
Phone (03) 788-8230
Coast Medical Centre
161 Palmerston Street
Phone (03) 789-5000
Smeartaker: Alison Lobb
number thirtyseven Potikohua Trust
Nurse smear taker Dickie Dewes:
37 Peel Street
Phone: (03) 789-6000
Buller NCSP: Buller Hospital
Nurse smear taker Tina Fox:
Phone: (03) 788-9249
or text/phone 027 471-8178
NCSP Ngakawau Community Clinic
Phone Ngakawau Health Centre:
Achieving Equity in Cervical Screening
Following the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) in 1990, a marked decrease in the incidence of cervical cancer occurred as the number of women having regular cervical smears increased....