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Minister Welcomes Audit Discussion Document

Health Minister Annette King today welcomed the Ministry of Health's release of a discussion document on law changes to improve the effectiveness of the National Cervical Screening Programme.

"The Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry Report was adamant that Section 74a of the Health Act needed to be amended to ensure the National Cervical Screening Programme is effectively audited, monitored and evaluated.

"In fact, this recommendation was clearly the most important of all the recommendations from the Inquiry. It is absolutely essential that there are no barriers to the efficient and comprehensive evaluation of the programme."

Mrs King said she wanted all women, not only those who used the programme, to be able to comment on the intended changes.

"It is important to realise, however, that amendments to Section 74a will definitely go ahead this year. They will be made as part of an omnibus health bill dealing with a wide range of health care quality issues.

"The purpose of the discussion document is to seek the views of women on how the amendments should be made, and on what safeguards are put in place to ensure ongoing confidence in the security of the programme's data.

"New Zealand women have shown commitment toward the programme, and population screening programmes are more effective the more women who take part. I recognise, however, that women will only participate if they have confidence in the programme."

A copy of the Discussion Document can be obtained on the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz or by phoning 04 496 2277. The period for receiving submissions will run for six weeks and closes on July 16.


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