Well Women and Family Trust (WWFT) was founded in 1988 in response to the Cartwright enquiry, to provide clinical services that would exceed recommendations and ensure women would have access to high quality, free, culturally appropriate, respectful and informed Cervical screening. We became incorporated under the Charitable Trust Act on 15/12/2000 and registered as a Private Training Establishment in May 2001.
Our mandate is to promote wellness and reduce the mortality and morbidity of Cervical and Breast Cancers in New Zealand. WWFT achieve this through two specific strategic directions (1) the provision of 30 community and mobile clinics around Auckland every month and (2) Provision of our Cervical Smear Taker training programme.
The Cervical Smear Takers Training Course is essential for development of the workforce in order that New Zealand can meet health Targets. Without appropriately trained Smear takers it is likely that we would see an increase in women dying from Cervical Cancers. Especially those women whose circumstances or culture mean they are reluctant to seek medical attention when well.
We have adapted to changing circumstances over that time including our name change from WONS in 2006 to Well Women and Family Trust in 2012 but persisted with a clear core strategy of delivering quality training to complement our clinical provision.
WWFT began offering Cervical Smear Taker Training in 2008 after a request from the National Cervical Screening Programme, (NCSP) as there was concern about the lack of choice for non-medical smear taker training in Auckland. A research(thesis) project was undertaken by founding member Ruth Davy to explore the ability of this new training programme to better prepare nurse smear takers to address inequalities in Cervical Screening for Maori and Pacific Women. Key findings demonstrated barriers to access from a women’s perspective and the need for more training on women’s health approaches. This thesis work actively informs what makes up the core competencies of our training programme today.
Our training Programme is NZQA accredited (Level 6, 10 credit). The NCSP regulates all Smear Taking across NZ, and requires all health professionals performing cervical screening to have completed a recognised educational course in cervical screening (standard 3.1.1).
WWFT and one other are the only organisations accredited to offer this training in Auckland outside of a midwifery and medical degree. WWFT currently train 100 nurses per year with a success rate of over 85%.
We currently hold a MoH contract to provide Support to Services for Auckland and Waitemata DHB for Cervical and Breast Screening, this ensures we can continue to provide community clinics around Auckland as well as provide transport and support to those women needing attending services following Mammogram or Cervical Screening.
For more information about these screening programmes, visit the Time to Screen website.