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Lab Cervical Cancer Rates Similar To Bottrill

The Gisborne Cancer Inquiry was told yesterday that five other laboratories had a similar low level of reporting of high grade cancer abnormalities as Dr Bottrill’s laboratory

In yesterday’s proceedings a censored document was released which compared thirty laboratories and their findings of high grade abnormalities of cancer rates.

The document which had the names of the laboratories and their locations missing showed five other laboratories had simlar rates of cancer reporting as Dr Bottrill at 0.6 percent.

When the lawyer for the women affected Bruce Corkill asked why the original document with the names and regions of the laboratories was not tabled, Ministry of Health lawyer, Mary Scholtens said at least two of laboratories had objected to the findings being made public.

She said the laboratories were worried there might be a "potential for misunderstanding."

The lawyer for Dr Bottrill, Christopher Hodson, QC, said Dr Bottrill had been heavily criticised because the rereading of his slides by a Sydney laboratory came up with a high-grade rate of 3.73 per cent - six times his client's rate.

He asked ministry witness Dr Bob Boyd if laboratories which also had a rate one-sixth of the Sydney finding had been identified to ensure other women were not also at risk.

"I have answered you before that the Health Funding Authority has had the responsibility for looking not only at the re-reading but also ways in which you can judge the effect and quality of work from other labs," said Dr Boyd.

Dr Boyd said the findings of the Authority in this matter were not yet complete and therefore could not be released.

Mr Hodson said there appeared to be no evidence that concerns about smear reporting in other parts of New Zealand had been looked at or even raised with Health Minister Annette King.

The lawyer for the Health Funding Authority, Kim Murray, said staff were doing a great deal of work looking into all laboratories and smear reporting rates which would be presented to the inquiry in July.

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