By Martin Johnston

Retired pathologist Dr Michael Bottrill says he is "deeply concerned" by findings that he failed to report many cervical smear tests containing high-grade abnormalities.

Dr Bottrill, the man at the centre of the Gisborne cervical cancer scare, yesterday broke the public silence he has maintained since the release of results by the Health Funding Authority this week.

The authority issued details of the re-reading of 4900 slides from Dr Bottrill's former laboratory.


The investigation found that of 157 slides showing high-grade abnormalities in 147 women, he reported only 28.

Over 25,000 more slides are to be re-read by the Sydney laboratory contracted by the authority.

Dr Bottrill said in a statement distributed by a Wellington public relations consultant: "It is very difficult to reconcile these results with all the knowledge available at the time and until now.

"I am sure that the ministerial inquiry announced by the Minister of Health, Wyatt Creech, will answer many questions. I will provide it with as much assistance as I am able."

Dr Bottrill could not be contacted and the PR consultant, Roger Mackey, would not expand on the statement.

Mr Creech said he had asked Ministry of Health medical advisers and an external pathologist to review the authority's response to the Sydney findings.

"I am reassured that they believe the HFA's approach is appropriate."