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Gisborne Inquiry report six-monthly update - Spch

Hon Annette King
8 November 2001 Speech Notes

Gisborne Inquiry report six-monthly update

Thank you very much for attending this public meeting to hear the six-monthly update on implementation of the recommendations of the Gisborne Inquiry Report.

When I was here in April with my colleague Tariana Turia, the Director-General of Health Karen Poutasi and senior members of the National Screening Unit, I promised to return in six months to tell you of progress and to answer questions you might have concerning the report’s implementation.

I am pleased the same people have returned with me today, with the addition, of course, of British cytopathologist Dr Euphemia McGoogan.

Dr McGoogan, who gave expert evidence during the Inquiry, has been in the country for the past few days investigating aspects of the implementation before providing her independent assessment of progress.

I have no control, of course, over what Dr McGoogan will have to say to you, although I suspect there will be some areas in which she may be critical, have reservations or want us to do better.

That is the whole point of contracting someone independent to do the evaluation. New Zealand women deserve the best screening programme we can provide, and Dr McGoogan has an important role in bringing this about.

Her job is not to make me or the Government or the Ministry or the NSU feel comfortable, but I hope that by the time she concludes her final report the women of New Zealand will feel comfortable with the screening programme in this country.

In a few minutes I will go through with you the 46 recommendations, grouped under a number of headings.

In general terms, however, I can say that progress has been made in several key areas. Work has been carried out on 45 of the 46 recommendations. Eight have been completed, and another 37 are underway.

There are still many challenges ahead, however, for the Ministry and for the NSU. That is why we will be coming back in another six months to provide a further update, and Dr McGoogan will return again after that if necessary.

This year the NSU took over the important task of organising and administering the audit of women with invasive cervical cancer. Since the audit began in April, the initial planning phase identified some 400 women who have developed cervical cancer and who will be included in the audit. The NSU aims to see this audit completed in an eighteen-month timeframe.

To better enable the monitoring, audit and evaluation of the programme in the future, the Cabinet has approved a number of changes to Section 74A of the Health Act. The changes followed the release of a public discussion document, which subsequently received 101 submissions.

Although the proposed changes will meet several key recommendations of the Inquiry Report, consent will still need to be sought to access the clinical records of women held by GPs.

The message from the submissions was clear. Three quarters of the submissions were opposed to giving access to medical records without consent. As a result we believe that we’ve developed a process that recognises these concerns while giving us the best possible framework for conducting effective programme monitoring, audit and evaluation.

Before going through all the recommendations, I want to emphasise a few other points.

Since July 1 laboratories providing services to the NCSP have been required to meet a range of new quality standards.
As a result of the new standards the number of laboratories providing services to the programme has reduced to 13, eleven community laboratories and two public hospital laboratories.

July also saw the release of the first quarterly monitoring report for the programme. Routine monitoring is a key factor in ensuring ongoing quality and enabling early identification and resolution of problems.

Another key development, of course, has included the establishment of the NSU itself. It is responsible for managing both cancer screening programmes and will have 33 staff when at full strength. The Unit is building on initiatives that have been taken to strengthen the NCSP in the past two and a half years.

And now if I can turn to the recommendations themselves, under their respective headings:

...

ENDS

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