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Bunkle Wins Extra Week for Gisborne Inquiry

Alliance health spokesperson Phillida Bunkle said from Gisborne today she is pleased Health Minister Annette King has agreed to her request to extend the Gisborne Inquiry into cervical screening for one further week.

"I wrote to Annette King last week and asked for an extension to continue hearing remaining evidence that needs to be put in this forum. This was request was made with the blessing of Inquiry head Ailsa Duffy who said she was prepared to see the inquiry through to its proper completion.

"There are still many tragic stories and important issues to be considered by the inquiry. I have been approached today at the inquiry by the widower of yet another cervical cancer victim who died at Gisborne Hospital on July 9 at the age of 57 years. She died a week short of her 58th birthday.

"This is another particularly upsetting story of the tragedy of Gisborne cervical screening issues. The woman, who had her cervical smears misread in 1992 and 1994, is the mother of five children and grandmother to 15 grandchildren. She could not face the inquiry while she was dying and shortly before her death her husband promised he would put her story before the inquiry. This extension will now allow him the opportunity to do that.

"I am impressed and applaud the work the inquiry has done in the short time it has had. This month has been a very stressful and upsetting time as more shocking details about the inadequacy of people involved have come out."

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