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Investigation into Cervical Screening in the Tairawhiti Region

Health Funding Authority Final Report

This report is the final version of an interim report provided to the Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry by the Health Funding Authority.


In 1999, the Health Funding Authority (HFA) took the lead in investigating allegations of under-reporting of cervical smears in the Tairawhiti region. This was a large and complex task involving the re-reading of almost 23,000 smears, and impacted on the lives of 12,000 women who had smears read by Gisborne Laboratories between 1991 and 1996.

The Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry was established by the Minister of Health following the interim results of the slide re-reading, which showed significant under-reporting of abnormalities.

The Inquiry concluded that the level of under-reporting was unacceptable and identified a number of contributing factors associated with the delivery of the National Cervical Screening Programme during the 1991-1996 period.

The HFA worked with the local community to identify and meet the treatment and support needs of the women involved, their families and whänau.

This report outlines the steps taken by the HFA in its investigation and updates information originally provided to the Inquiry. It includes the results of a review of the information provided to women and health service providers.

The Inquiry made a number of recommendations for improvements, many of which have already been implemented or are in progress. I am committed to further improving the programme by building on the progress made over the past 2½ years and ensuring that New Zealand women have a world class cervical screening programme.


Karen O Poutasi (Dr)
Director-General of Health
November 2001

Here is a link to the full text of this report (PDF, 428 kB).


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