Dunedin - South Otago, Southland > Public Hospital Services > Southern District Health Board (Southern DHB) >

Southern DHB Cervical Screening Programme

Public Service, Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Southern DHB supports the delivery of cervical screening services to all women 25-69 living in our community.

Preventing Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly, so it’s easy for us to detect and treat cell changes early. Treatment is as simple as removing the affected tissue, and has a really high success rate. The first signs show up as ‘abnormal’ cells, which can take more than 10 years to develop into cancer. This is why you usually have a cervical screening test every 3 years – this gives us the best chance to find cell changes early.


Risk factors for cervical cancer include

  • A persistent HPV infection
  • Smoking
  • Not being immunised against HPV

The best protection for cervical cancer is being immunised against HPV and having regular cervical screening tests. For more information on HPV visit www.timetoscreen.nz


Where to have a cervical screening

It's completely up to you who takes your cervical screening test. You can choose to go to your regular doctor or choose to go to:

  • any doctor or practice nurse
  • a midwife
  • Family Planning
  • your local sexual health service
  • marae-based or other Māori health centres
  • community health services e.g. Pacific or women’s health centres
  • screening support services.

You can request a female health provider from most services. Whoever you choose, all health providers are specially trained to make sure the test is comfortable, and meets your rights as a patient.

The National Screening Unit can help you find someone to take your cervical screening test. Give us a call on freephone 0800 729 729.


The cost of your screen depends on the health provider you choose. Some providers might have a low-cost option. You can check what cost options are available to you when you make an appointment with a health provider or call 0800 729 729 to discuss your options.

Procedures / Treatments

  • What to expect during a smear test

    Smear tests only take about 10 minutes.
    It is best to avoid having your test during your period (menstruation).… More

  • Understanding your results

    Your cervical screening test detects whether there are cell changes.… More

  • Colposcopy

    If your smear test had an abnormal result, you may need an extra check called a colposcopy.… More

Contact Details

This page was last updated at 8:31AM on April 21, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB Cervical Screening Programme.