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Cartwright Report

Silvia Cartwright, an Auckland District Court Judge was appointed by the then Minister of Health, Michael Bassett in June 1987 to conduct an Inquiry into allegations concerning the treatment of cervical cancer at National Women's Hospital, and other related matters. 

This was prompted by an article written by Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle and published in the June 1987 edition of Metro that revealed alarming details of the treatment of women with precancerous abnormalities of the cervix at the hospital.

The Report of the Committee of Inquiry was released on 5 August 1988 and provided a detailed analysis of the evidence presented to the Inquiry as well as the findings and  recommendations.

Judge Cartwright concluded that there was a research programme into the natural history of carcinoma in situ of the genital tract that had been conducted without the consent or knowledge of the women.

For some women this had led to inadequate management of their condition and had resulted in persisting disease, the development of invasive cancer and, in some cases, death.

You can access a hard copy of the Inquiry Report from your public library.

It is also available online at

HDC can provide electronic copies. Email your request to or phone our freephone number 0800 11 22 33.

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