On 28 April 2014, the Medical Services Advisory Committee released its National Cervical Screening Program Review Outcome, which recommends that bi-annual Pap smears be phased out and replaced with five-yearly human papillomavirus ("HPV") tests.

Under the current National Cervical Screening Program, Pap smears are the preferred cervical screening method for women over 18 years.  If the Government chooses to implement the Committee’s recommendations, the five-yearly HPV testing would be conducted on women aged 25 to 69, with women aged 70 to 74 being subject to exit testing.

The Committee noted that the new program is expected to prevent an extra 15% of deaths per annum and save the Federal Government up to $50 million per annum.

The Committee’s recommendations will now be considered by the Government, with stakeholder consultation likely to follow.  It is reported that the recommendations, if implemented, will not take effect until 2016.

To view the recommendations, click here.