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Chadwick: Twenty Years On From The Cartwright Inquiry

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

5 August 2008 - Associate Health Minister Steve Chadwick today acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the Cartwright Report, noting how far New Zealand has come since the release of the Report in August 1988.

"The Cartwright Report was hugely significant for the women involved, and for the New Zealand health system more widely. The Report acknowledged the public outrage over research at National Women's Hospital with insufficient regard to consumer's rights, well-being and safety," Steve Chadwick said.

"However, the legacy of the Cartwright Report saw the rebalancing of power relationships between professionals and patients across the entire health system."

Recommendations from the Report led to the establishment of ethics committees, the Health Information Privacy Code and the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.

"The Cartwright inquiry also led to the establishment of the National Cervical Screening Programme, and cervical cancer incidence has reduced by around 50 per cent and mortality by around 65 per cent since the programme began in 1990.

"Earlier this year we announced $164.2 million of new funding over five years for a major immunisation programme to fight cervical cancer. This is a further step in the battle against cervical cancer. Today's grandmothers remember the 'unfortunate experiment' and this free vaccine is an investment in protecting their granddaughters and future generations.

"The Gardasil vaccine is shown to be safe in large clinical trials involving more than 20,000 girls and young women. This programme provides an opportunity for young women to be protected against the virus that causes most cervical cancers.

"In the long term, it is expected that about 30 lives a year will be saved. And there will be fewer abnormal smear results, which means less stress for those women who may require extra tests, diagnoses and invasive treatments.

"We are making a concerted effort to ensure young women and their parents have access to full information from credible sources and are supported to make well-informed decisions."

The Ministry of Health is sending an update to around 5,000 stakeholders today, including all GPs, including a fact sheet that can be copied and given out to young women or their parents, and other resources are being developed.

The additional resources will be distributed to GPs this month and includes information about the programme, the vaccine side effects, and questions and answers. There will also be social marketing activities to inform people and guide them to other sources of accurate information.

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