The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR)

The Australian Government has established the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR, or Register) to support delivery of the renewed NCSP and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

When fully implemented, the Register will:

  • provide one record for each woman participating in the cervical and bowel screening programs; and
  • contain the clinical screening history for every woman who has ever participated in cervical screening from the migration of data from state and territory cervical screening registers. Medicare data will be used to identify women in the eligible age group (25-74 years) who have never screened.The NCSR once fully implemented will replace the previous state-based cervical screening registers.

Mandatory notification of data

Under the National Cancer Screening Register Rules 2017 (the Rules), from 1 December 2017 pathology practitioners are required to notify prescribed cervical screening information to the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer (CMO) through the NCSR within 14 days. The 14 days commences after the screening test is completed. That is;

  • HPV test and LBC test (if required) – the 14 day period commences immediately after the lab has received, tested and issued a combined report.
  • Histology – the 14 day period commences immediately after the lab has completed their testing (i.e. multiple examinations on the tissue) and issued a report.

The Rules support notification of individuals’ screening test results, results of follow-up procedures, diagnosis (or clearance) of cancer and other relevant screening information to the NCSR and enable monitoring of NCSP program quality, safety and effectiveness.

Information on the notification requirement and guidance to assist with interpretation of what kind of data to report under each of the mandatory fields, to align with the AIHW NCSR program performance and monitoring reporting and with the NPAAC requirements as appropriate, is provided on the Cancer Screening website.

HPV positivity rates – benchmarking reports for pathology labs

One of the key elements of quality assessment for the renewed NCSP is for pathology laboratories to routinely assess their HPV detection rate (‘positivity rate’). Laboratories are expected to compare the HPV detection rate in samples of at least 2000 specimens against National benchmarks. Data should be restricted to screening samples and to women aged 25 years or over at the time of testing.
The NCSR provides benchmarks that will allow laboratories to assess their detection rates against National averages. The NCSR separately reports benchmark detection rates by age cohorts (born before/after June 30, 1980) labelled as pre- and post- 1980.

Guidance for pathology labs is available from the Guidelines for handling HPV positivity rate quality management process. This includes information on:

  • how to calculate the HPV positivity rate and provides examples of how to interpret results
  • how to notify the NCSP Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee; and
  • how batch failure notifications will be managed by the NCSP.

View charts and tables relating to HPV detection rate national benchmark

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