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Commitment To Quality Health Services

Joint Media Statement from the Ministry of Health's National Screening Unit and the Auckland District Health Board 17 May 2001

NSU And Auckland District Health Board Restate Commitment To Quality Health Services

The Ministry of Health's National Screening Unit and Auckland District Health Board restated their commitment to high quality health services, at a meeting in Auckland today.

At the meeting Auckland DHB said it would forward a plan to the National Screening Unit outlining some options for the DHB continuing to provide services to the NCSP after 1 July when the NCSP Operational Quality and Policy Standards come into effect.

National Screening Unit Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters said the NSU welcomed the Auckland proposal and said it would consider the plan.

Auckland DHB Chief Operating Officer Neil Woodhams said we regard it as extremely important to retain services in public hospitals to provide continuity of care for patients. In addition the Auckland DHB Plan will outline how it will meet the Interim Quality Standards including the staff requirements.

The NCSP Interim Standards were distributed to all 6,000 providers of services to the National Cervical Screening Programme in October last year and were the product of careful analytical work and consultation with experts and health providers.

"The Interim Standards were endorsed in the Report of the Gisborne Ministerial Inquiry released on April 10 with the Inquiry Panel calling for the standards to be put in place within six months. "In the Panel's view these minimum standards must be implemented," the Report says.

Dr Peters says there are several laboratories who currently provide cytology services to the NCSP who don't currently process the minimum number. "We are still open to plans from hospital laboratories that outline how they intend to meet the Standards from 1 July," she says. "A collaborative approach by hospital laboratories would mean a continued hospital presence in the programme."

The Interim Standards provide a comprehensive set of policies and standards for all NCSP providers and is a key step in the development of improved quality systems for the Programme. Within the document are 21 standards specifically for Programme laboratories. From July 1 laboratories must read 15,000 slides a year, while primary screeners need to read 3,000 slides annually.


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