Women at potential risk to be advised by letter to see gp
Women in Victoria who are at possible risk from faulty pap smear tests will be notified by certified mail that they should contact their doctor for further testing, Federal Health Minister Kay Patterson said today.
8 March 2002
Women at potential risk to be advised by letter to see gpWomen in Victoria who are at possible risk from faulty pap smear tests will be notified by certified mail that they should contact their doctor for further testing, Federal Health Minister Kay Patterson said today.
All women who had their pap smear tested by General Diagnostic Laboratories would receive letters informing them that they should contact their doctors to discuss their pap smear results, she said.
"As I said yesterday, the welfare of the women who are at potential risk is of paramount importance to me," she said.
"In consultation with the Victorian Health Minister it has been agreed that letters will be sent to the women who are at risk to ensure their safety and that immediate steps are taken to guarantee their pap smear test results are accurate."
Senator Patterson said the mail-out would start next week. Letters would be sent by certified mail.
If any woman could not be contacted for any reason, her general practitioner would be contacted to ascertain if her details had changed.
Also, a hotline has been set-up to answer any concerns that women may have.
Details of both the mail-out and the hotline will be advertised next week.
Senator Patterson said the names of the women who were at potential risk would supplied by the Victorian Cervical Cytology Register (VCCR). This register holds the history of all women resident in Victoria over the past 12 years, including name, address and which laboratory examined their tests.
Senator Patterson reminded all women that they should go to their doctors for pap smears every two years.
"We know that the most common cause of cervical cancer usually takes 10 years to develop and we also know that up to 90 per cent of cervical cancer may be prevented by pap smear. However, only 65% of Australian women are participating in regular two-yearly screening," she said.
"I want to assure Australian women that they can have confidence in their cervical cancer testing system. It is of world standard. In the 13 years since 1988, the death rate from cervical cancer declined by 40% and the incidence of cervical cancer has declined by 31%."
Media Contact: Randal Markey, Media Adviser, 0417 694 520