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Screening Bill changes cautiously welcomed

Screening Bill changes cautiously welcomed

The New Zealand Medical Association welcomes changes made to the Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill, which was passed by Parliament last night.

“The NZMA has always shared the concerns of many women about the confidentiality of their medical records,” NZMA Chairman Dr Tricia Briscoe said.

“We acknowledge the efforts of the Government and a number of Opposition parties to come up with workable solutions to alleviate these concerns.” These measures include that:

· The Act will ensure that all women on the Cervical Screening Register are fully informed about potential information sharing, and may choose to opt off.

· Any access to GP and private specialist medical records will be under the oversight of the woman’s doctor.

· Regulations (yet to be written) will control what information may be accessed, and the NZMA will strongly advocate that information not clearly essential to the Screening Programme remains protected.

The NZMA remains concerned that women who have expressly chosen to opt off the Register, and then develop cervical cancer, will still have their medical records accessed.

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