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Gisborne Report Identifies Key Screening Issues

Gisborne Report Identifies Key Screening Issues -- NZMA

The NZMA welcomes the Gisborne cervical smear report, and looks forward to the implementation of a screening programme in which the women of New Zealand can have confidence.

"Our sympathy goes to the women of Gisborne who have been affected by the failings of the cervical screening programme," said NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams. "Many of these women could have received treatment at a much earlier stage if the programme had been implemented effectively from the start.

"The NZMA is pleased that the inquiry was in no way a witch-hunt; rather it focused on the important core issues. While the report states that cytology services at Gisborne Laboratory were clearly inadequate, of greatly more significance were the flaws in the national programme's systems and processes which led to women being falsely reassured about their health.

"Programmes such as this must be well planned, resourced, monitored and audited to be effective. It is now critical to ensure all steps are taken to make certain these types of systems errors don't happen again."

The NZMA is pleased that many of the report's recommendations have already been identified and implemented.

"It is also vital that the programme has adequate resources, to ensure it functions at an effective level. Quality assurance and other important requirements must be properly funded," Dr Adams said.

"The report is comprehensive and detailed. Everyone involved will need to study it carefully to absorb the information.

"The report contains important lessons which apply to elements of health services well outside the cervical screening programme."


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