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Ministerial Inquiry needs to get underway

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Opposition Health Spokesperson

6 March 2000


Ministerial Inquiry needs to get underway

The Ministerial Inquiry into the Gisborne cervical cancer scare needs to get underway as quickly as possible, Opposition Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

“While everything in this area needs to be done properly, I am surprised the Inquiry has still not started hearing evidence.

“It is more than five months since the Inquiry was announced and its membership named.

“It was supposed to start hearing evidence last year. The new Health Minister said hearings would start at the beginning of February. She then said they’d been delayed, but we’d know last month when they would start. We are still no clearer about when hearings will start.

“Big questions have been raised as a result of the Gisborne cervical cancer scare and the Ministerial Inquiry should be well down the track getting the questions answered.

“The Inquiry should help us learn lessons and make any further improvements but the longer it takes to get going the longer it takes for us to get answers.

“I am pleased the Health Funding Authority has received all the re-tested cervical smears, and that women will receive certainty this week about their status. But I am also concerned that the final results have taken some time to come through - they were due in January.

“The pressure needs to be kept on the Ministry of Health and the Health Funding Authority to get on with the job, and to make certain there is nothing blocking the Ministerial Inquiry Team from doing its work.”

Ends

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