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Ministry of Health Pathology review panel report released

6 September 2012

Ministry of Health Pathology review panel report released

A national panel of experts have reviewed the five biopsy errors which occurred in the past two years and reported back to the Ministry of Health with a range of recommendations for improvements.

“The panel considers that quality standards in New Zealand laboratories are of a high standard and compare well with international benchmarks,” says Ministry of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Don Mackie.

“However they have identified a number of areas where improvements can be made to reduce the incidence and impact of error. This includes better systems to reduce the likelihood of errors occurring.

“A major part of the report involved interviews with affected people and their families and the panel is very grateful for their input. Their experiences have highlighted that better support is needed for people who are harmed by diagnostic errors.”

Dr Mackie said health providers, including laboratories, and other key organisations have been sent a copy of the report with the expectation that they will review their own processes based on the recommendations.

“I will be following up on the progress of the recommendations with the health providers. In particular, I will be checking what improvements laboratories have made to reduce the likelihood of biopsy errors occurring in the future.”

A copy of the full report is at:


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