College of GPs applauds announcement of lifesaving self-test for cervical cancer

10 May 2021

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has applauded the Government’s announcement yesterday that a self-test for cervical cancer will be available from 2023.

President Dr Samantha Murton (pictured right) says, "Patients dying from a preventable disease like cervical cancer is unacceptable so to hear the Government announce that we can soon move to a clean, safe, and private self-test is encouraging.

"The College has been advocating for self-testing for some time and to see it become reality will bring incredible benefits to our patients; for some of them it will literally be life-saving," she says.

Research shows that Māori and Pacific women are dying at two-three times the rate of other women because of the way New Zealand has been screening for cervical cancer.

"Quite frankly, this change will mean that some whānau will have their mothers, sisters, cousins and daughters in their lives for longer; 2023 can’t come soon enough and my preference would be this year," says Dr Murton.

"Several of our GP members have worked extensively in the field of cervical cancer and have been very vocal about self-swabbing; it heartens me to see their mahi heard and understood, and for the Government to make change in an area of health that will measurably affect people’s lives," says Dr Murton.

The self-swab will also bring New Zealand into line with international clinical best practice.