News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry

WOMEN concerned they will be unable to make submissions to the Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry because they don't yet know whether they have been affected will not be excluded, Director-General of Health Karen Poutasi said today.

"The whole point of the inquiry is to work out what went wrong, why, and to see whether it could be happening anywhere else. Obviously the Inquiry Team will want to do as thorough a job as it can to reassure women throughout New Zealand that the cervical screening programme is safe and effective."

"Any woman who has any interest in the inquiry - and that includes any woman who had a smear test in the Gisborne area from 1990-1996 - can legitimately attend the public meetings to be held later this week to have a say about how the inquiry will be conducted.

"The intention of the preliminary meetings is to give the Inquiry Team a feel for the scope of the inquiry so it can plan its hearings. It seems clear to me that the concerns being raised now in the media could and should be raised at those meetings."

More women are now concerned that their smear tests may have been misread by Gisborne pathologist Dr Michael Bottrill. This follows the Health Funding Authority's announcement yesterday that Dr Bottrill had reported as high-grade only 92 of the 625 high-grade abnormalities found by a Sydney laboratory re-reading all his slides.

Dr Poutasi said the fact that not all Dr Bottrill's slides had yet been re-read had been taken into account when the terms of reference for the inquiry had been drawn up in September.

The inquiry was announced after re-reading of a first batch of slides showed significant under-reporting of abnormalities. Re-reading of all Dr Bottrill's cervical slides is due for completion by January 2000 - well within the Inquiry Team's timeframe.

"I understand that there will be very deep concern both for those women who know their smear tests were misread and those who don't yet know but suspect the worst."

"Let me reassure you about the additional services the HFA has put in place so women can be re-tested, and fast-tracked if necessary for further testing or treatment."

"Let me also urge women in either category, their families, whanau, friends and other support people, to avail themselves of the opportunity they will have later this week to talk to the Inquiry Team about their submissions."

Preliminary meetings of the Inquiry team of Ailsa Duffy, QC, Mrs Druis Barrett and Dr Gordon Wright will be held in Gisborne: at the Lawson Field Theatre, Vogel St, Gisborne, 9am 18/11/1999 Auckland: Lakeside Convention Centre, Montgomerie Rd, Mangere, 9am 19/11/1999


attch: Terms of Reference.


To conduct an inquiry into the apparent mis-reading and/or mis-reporting (collectively described in these terms as under-reporting) of abnormalities in cervical smears in the Gisborne region, taking into account the results of the review of histology samples from 1990 to 1996 carried out by the Health Funding Authority, on the following terms:

1. To identify the factors that are likely to have led to under-reporting of abnormalities in cervical smears in the Gisborne region.

2. To satisfy yourselves whether or not this was an isolated case rather than evidence of a systemic issue for the National Cervical Screening Programme.

3. To identify changes already made to legislation, to laboratory or other processes or to professional practices to address the risks of under-reporting of abnormalities in cervical smears.

4. To identify other changes agreed to be implemented, either by the Government or by professional organisations, that will further address any risks of under-reporting of abnormalities in cervical smears.

5. To consider all relevant proposals that could ameliorate any risks of under-reporting of abnormalities in cervical smears and identify whether these are covered by 3. or 4. above and whether further changes are needed.

6. To comment on any other issue the Inquiry Team believes to be of particular relevance.

7. To make recommendations, consistent with section 4 (a) of the Health and Disability Services Act 1993, as to any future action the Government or its agencies should consider taking.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

At Bats: Locke - The World Theatrical Premiere

On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan Locke receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job and soul... More>>

Howard Davis Review: Conflict & Resistance - Ria Hall's Rules of Engagement

From the aftermath of war through colonisation to her own personal convictions, Hall's new CD addresses current issues and social problems on multiple levels, confirming her position as a polemical and preeminent voice on the indigenous NZ music scene. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Another Time, Another Place - David Friesen Trio Live

"It has been said of David Friesen that he does for the art of bass playing what Pythagoras did for the triangle" - Patrick Hinley, Jazz Times. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>