Ministry of Health: Progress in Implementing the Recommendations of the Cervical Screening Inquiry


Cervical screening is an internationally recognised means of reducing the incidence of invasive cervical cancer. The reduction in both the incidence of cervical cancer and death rates from cervical cancer in New Zealand over the last 15 years demonstrates the importance of regular cervical screening.

The Ministerial Inquiry into the under-reporting of cervical smear abnormalities in the Gisborne Region raised some serious concerns about whether the National Cervical Screening Programme is as effective as it could be. The Committee of Inquiry’s report, released in April 2001, made recommendations for future action to improve the Programme.

We examined the progress made and the work remaining to be done to implement the Committee of Inquiry’s recommendations. We conducted our examination at the same time as a review by an independent expert, Dr Euphemia McGoogan, whom the Minister of Health engaged to provide independent advice on the progress being made in implementing the Committee of Inquiry’s recommendations.

The two independently produced reports draw broadly similar conclusions, and together provide strong assurance to the Minister, Parliament and the public about the progress made so far and the work remaining to be done.

We conclude that good progress is being made in a number of important areas, but effective monitoring, audit, and evaluation of the Programme require action.

We intend to keep the progress in implementing the Committee of Inquiry’s recommendations under review.

D J D Macdonald
Controller and Auditor-General

14 February 2002