Supporting Choice for Cervical Screening

Project Details

HPV self-collection to improve equity and participation in Australia's National Cervical Screening Program

Project background

The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) is a largely successful program, with over 70% participation in 2021. However, some people experience barriers to screening, and there are population groups within Australia who are under screened and therefore at greater risk of developing cervical cancers.

The NCSP guidelines now recommend that everyone eligible for screening is offered the choice for either a clinician-collected cervical sample, or a self-collected vaginal sample for HPV testing.

Project synopsis

Supporting Choice for cervical screening, is a collaborative research project that aims to generate the evidence about how the choice for self-collection can be implemented, across a range of services and settings, in ways that ensure equitable access and increased participation for people who currently experience screening barriers.

We are working with members of the health care workforce, and with members of priority under-screened communities, to understand their experiences and proposed solutions to improving screening access. Bringing these understandings together, we will work to jointly design, test and evaluate solutions.


  1. Understand workforce barriers, enablers and proposed solutions for providing the choice for self-collection;
  2. Understand community barriers, enablers and proposed solutions to participating in self-collection;
  3. Co-design adapted models for implementing self-collection - in ways that address workforce, community and system barriers and that achieve equity;
  4. Test and evaluate implementation of models (which may include tools and resources).

How to get involved

If you are a healthcare worker who provides or supports cervical screening, or community member who would like to help make a difference in cervical screening, we would love to hear from you.

Opportunities to contribute to Supporting Choice include:

  • National survey for clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals involved in the provision of cervical screening (survey closed)
  • June to September 2023: Interviews with healthcare professionals and those who provide health services for selected priority populations: people who are living with a physical disability, people who identify as LGBTQ+ or people who are intersex, and people with refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds
  • August to December 2023: Interviews and focus groups with community members from the above priority populations who are living in regional and remote areas
  • General population surveys on awareness and acceptability of self-collection
  • Early 2024: Co-design workshops with the cervical screening workforce, stakeholders and community members to identify and design models of screening
  • Piloting and evaluating these models of screening
  • Developing a toolkit/resource on implementing self-collection to reach priority populations

If you would like to be involved or find out more, please contact Project Coordinator Dr Tessa Saunders (


  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Cancer Council Western Australia
  • The Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney
  • Kirby Institute
  • Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC)
  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • University of Newcastle

Chief Investigators

  • Dr Claire Nightingale - Project Lead (University of Melbourne)
  • Associate Professor Megan Smith - Project Lead (Daffodil Centre)
  • Professor Julia Brotherton (University of Melbourne)
  • Associate Professor Angela Kelly-Hanku (Kirby Institute)
  • Dr Rachael Dodd (Daffodil Centre)
  • Associate Professor Lisa Whop (ANU)
  • Professor Deborah Bateson (Daffodil Centre)
  • Professor Karen Canfell (Daffodil Centre)
  • Professor Marion Saville (ACPCC)
  • Professor Andrew Vallely (Kirby Institute)

Funded through an NHMRC Targeted Call for Research Grant

Project updates

Project Newsletter June 2023

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Policy

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