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Report fails to restore confidence in screening

10 April 2001

attention Health Reporter

Report fails to restore confidence in screening programme

The report of the Ministerial Inquiry into the under-reporting of cervical smear abnormalities in the Gisborne region is a damning indictment of the National Cervical Screening Programme, and will not restore women's confidence in the programme," Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"A lot of women have been postponing having smears because they have lost confidence in the screening programme," Ms Kedgley said.

"This report will not restore women's confidence. On the contrary, until the national evaluation of the programme has been completed, its safety for women cannot be guaranteed."

Ms Kedgley said she was also alarmed at the report's suggestion that cervical smear abnormalities could have happened in other parts of New Zealand, and that there could still be systemic under-reporting of abnormalities in New Zealand laboratories.

Ms Kedgley said she was also disappointed that many of its recommendations had been made before, but not properly implemented.

She was also disappointed that the report did not recommend that a Cancer Control Agency be established, and a national cancer strategy adopted.

"It's important that we restore confidence in the ability of a nationwide screening programme to detect cervical cancer," Ms Kedgley said. "But equal emphasis should be given to measures which reduce the number of women who are developing cervical cancer in the first place," she said.


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