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Ministry Set To Repeat Yesterday's Mistakes

Ministry Set To Repeat Yesterday's Mistakes

Delays in audit report-back, following the Gisborne cervical screening inquiry, show again the inadequacies of a flawed system that the Health Ministry insists on setting up, running reporting on and auditing, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"It should be remembered that Dr Bottrill was participating in the Health Ministry's Cervical Screening Programme. Years down the track, the Ministry is still auditing its own programme," Mrs Roy said.

"Questions should be asked - not only about why the audit is taking so long, but why the Ministry has been given this responsibility at all.

"The new Health (Screening Programmes) Amendment Bill - in which participating patients may `opt out' of a programme, rather than the current `opt in' - is currently before the Health Select Committee, which is due to hear submissions next week.

"The Bill proposes the same set-up. This is a Government Bill recommending that its own agency do everything. At the very least, independent evaluators and auditors should be used to assess the effectiveness of any programme.

"For the Health Ministry to set up, run, report on and audit any programme - and to say it to has done a fine job - is clearly unacceptable. Independent experts believe it is better to have no screening programme at all, rather than one that is fundamentally flawed from the start, Mrs Roy said.

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