19 December 2017

National Cervical Screening Program – Important information

Cervical screening is not recommended for women under 25 years as advised by the Department of Health under the new National Cervical Screening Program.

Medicare does not fund routine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening tests in women under 25 and testing of these samples will either need to be privately funded by the patient, or, with the consent of the referring practitioner, not processed.

Women under 25 years who are currently under clinical management for a cervical abnormality should be managed according to the recommendations in the 2016 Guidelines.

Women at any age who have signs or symptoms suggestive of cervical cancer should have an HPV and liquid-based cytology (LBC) co-test and be referred for the appropriate investigation to exclude genital tract malignancy.

Please familiarise yourself with the ‘Pathology Test Guide for Cervical and Vaginal Testing’ to avoid out-of-pocket fees for your patients.

Is your practice prepared for an emergency?

The festive season is Australia’s hottest time of the year, which comes with increased risk of bushfires and extreme weather events. A number of RACGP resources are available to support general practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from the impacts of fires and other emergencies.

The RACGP resource Managing emergencies in general practice: A guide for preparation, response and recovery provides an overview of the emergency planning process and outlines a range of activities that can be undertaken to maintain business continuity and help protect practice infrastructure during emergency events. To complement this resource, a suite of fact sheets on specific emergency related topics are also available.

The Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT) is a subscription-based tool enabling general practices to create a tailored emergency response plan. Information is available via the RACGP ERPT website.

RACGP Christmas and New Year shut down details

The RACGP’s national office, as well as all state and territory faculties, will be closed for the Christmas and New Year period from close of business Friday 22 December, re-opening on Monday 8 January 2018. We wish all of our members, colleagues, patients and their families a safe and happy festive period.

Members will still have access to the member portal and normal onlince services such as shareGPrecruitGP and gplearning at this time. 

Clinical Pearl: Does regular sunscreen use affect vitamin D levels?

Using sunscreen regularly does not appear to affect vitamin D levels in Caucasian populations. The Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society and Osteoporosis Australia suggest that for moderately fair-skinned people, adequate vitamin D levels can be maintained with the following sun exposure times:

  • In summer: 6–7 minutes of sun exposure mid-morning or mid-afternoon, with arms exposed.
  • In winter: 7– 40 minutes of sun exposure (depending on latitude) at noon on most days, with as much of the body exposed as is feasible.

Vitamin D synthesis is reduced in those with dark skin, who are likely to need three to six times longer of exposure to the sun.

Visit the RACGP Handbook for Non Drug Interventions (HANDI) for more information.

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP should contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor