To ensure the quality of the cervical cancer screening programme, it is necessary to carry out monitoring and evaluation of the screening programme. The cervical cancer screening programme falls under the responsibility of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The national monitoring and evaluation of the cervical cancer screening programme are carried out by independent, external organisations on behalf of RIVM.

National monitoring

Each year, an external organisation provides a report with the most important results of the screening programme compared to previous years. This report, called the monitor, includes performance data on participation, the number of referrals and the number of abnormalities found. The monitor of the past five years can be found on this webpage; each year the numbers are updated, therefore, the most recent monitor shows the latest results of the past years. 

The purpose of the monitor is to ensure the quality and to identify important trends. The results are based on a defined set of indicators.

Monitoring is conducted using data from the nationwide information system for the screening programmes (BVO NL) and the nationwide network and registry of histo- and cytopathology in the Netherlands (PALGA). Furthermore, incidence of cancer data is collected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NKR) and mortality data is collected from the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS).

Short-cycle monitoring

When optimising or updating a programme, it is important to keep a close eye on developments within that programme. Short-cycle monitoring is used to monitor certain indicators more frequently than usual during the implementation phase of changes to the programme. This is done in order to be able to respond to unintended consequences in a timely manner. For this screening programme, short-cycle monitoring has been set up to gain an insight into the effects of programme optimalisations. Short-cycle monitoring data are for internal use only.

National evaluation

Each year, in-depth analyses are being performed, often as a result of the monitor. For example, impact evaluations and cost-effectiveness analysis of the screening programme. These evaluation activities have several objectives. It shows to what extent the screening programme has contributed to the observed decrease in cervical cancer mortality, but also the adverse effects of the programme (e.g. overdiagnosis, false positive screening results). Simulation models are used for this.

The results of these in-depth analyses are periodically delivered in the form of a national evaluation report of the Dutch cervical cancer screening programme.