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Cervical cancer screening

Quality improvement in colposcopy

GUIDELINE UPDATES - This guideline was last updated 8/15/2018

UPCOMING GUIDELINES - This guideline was updated and comes into practice on 7/1/2022Download PDF

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The NSCP Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee has developed a Quality Framework that includes quality standards and targets for individual diagnostic and therapeutic colposcopists.

Diagnostic and therapeutic colposcopists

Diagnostic and therapeutic colposcopy has been practised in the absence of any organised quality assurance program since before the commencement of the NCSP in 1991. Within the pre-renewal NCSP, colposcopy is the only screening program element not included in quality assurance monitoring. The NCSP Quality Framework, currently under development, includes the following statements:

  1. Colposcopic assessment should be performed in a timely manner to ensure the safety of women at risk of cervical cancer precursors.
  2. Women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are appropriately referred to a certified gynaecological oncologist or gynaecological cancer treatment centre for further assessment and/or treatment.
  3. Women are appropriately treated and returned from colposcopic surveillance to routine screening in accordance with the clinical management guidelines.
  4. The therapeutic colposcopist adequately informs the woman and her usual cervical screening test collector of any follow-up that may be required in accordance with the clinical management guidelines.
  5. The quality of the colposcopic and therapeutic assessment procedures is regularly assessed. It is expected that all colposcopists (diagnostic and therapeutic), who provide services to the NCSP, will participate in a cervical management quality assurance program (CM-QAP). Quality standards for diagnostic colposcopists have been developed by the NCSP to provide guidance for individual performance review.
  6. Colposcopists provide the National Cancer Screening Register with data in accordance with the minimum dataset.
  7. The National Cancer Screening Register provides colposcopists with individual performance data benchmarked to national standards for quality improvement and certification purposes.

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