A collaborative approach to cervical cancer screening

Wendy J. Brown*, Julie E. Byles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives - The main objective of this project was to evaluate a collaborative nurse and general practitioner approach to improve screening for cervical cancer. Design - Multiple group time series design. Setting - Six postal areas in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia, chosen as intervention sites because of very low Pap test rates compared with the rest of NSW (fewer than 50% .of women screened). Six regions of similar size and with similar baseline screening levels were selected as comparison sites. Subjects - All women selected in the resident postal areas. Interventions - Women's health nurses worked in collaboration with general practitioners within the communities selected from within the Hunter area to promote and provide screening for cervical cancer. Main outcome measures - Qualitative information on initial expectations and impressions of the collaborative processes were collected at the start of the project period. Process data on client characteristics and Pap test results were obtained from minimum data collections; client satisfaction was assessed from client surveys. Outcome data on the increase in the number of women in each community who were screened for cervical cancer were obtained from Health Insurance Commission claims for screening Pap tests (and from nurses' records where Pap tests were examined under block funding arrangements). Results - This project showed that nurses and general practitioners can collaborate to provide appropriate and highly acceptable cervical cancer screening services for women. Many of the women screened by the nurses were in the high risk age range for cervical cancer (40 years and older) and had only basic education levels, thus representing women who are most likely to have poor screening rates. Further, 33.1% of the women screened had not had a Pap test in the past four years or had never been screened. The number of women having a Pap test during the first six months of the project, compared with the number expected from preintervention patterns, was significantly greater in four intervention areas (P < 0.01). No corresponding increase was seen in comparison areas with similar screening rates at baseline. Conclusions - There is great potential for nurses to work in collaboration with general practitioners to improve the availability and coverage of community cervical cancer screening programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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