The national forensic pathology service in this country is on the verge of collapse – and Minister Andrew Little refuses to intervene despite the advice of clinical experts, says the Association of Medical Specialists for Medical Examinations (ASMS).
The seriousness of the current situation can not be overestimated, "says ASMS Director Ian Powell
" If these services collapse, we will have a gaping hole in our ability to determine the cause of death in situations that is unclear or complex, or where we think a crime may have occurred Forensic pathologists are deeply concerned that deprivations can be missed as a result or miscarriages of justice occur.
"This situation is entirely caused by the cack of the Ministry of Justice-thwarted with the contractual arrangements for the national forensic pathology service, and the lack of any real attempt to understand what forensic pathologists do.
"Their decision is driven by a decent combination of bureaucratic incompetence and an ideological belief that a commercial free market approach will solve things.
"What is all the more shocking, however, is that forensic pathologists, with the support of ASMS, directly to the Minister of Justice to ask for his intervention, and he has been refused.This is a very small workforce of highly educated and specialized senior doctors who know the requirements of their work better than any official at the Ministry of Justice, but they are not heard Andrew Little chooses to take the advice of officials instead of clinical experts. "
According to Mr. Powell instructed the ministry to drag and fund the process of determining the specifications for the national forensic pathological examination service – including the way it is implemented. – for seven years and now it proposes to dismantle and fragment over four different providers. "There is a shortage of forensic pathologists around the world and the uncertain situation with the service here makes it very difficult to recruit or retain appropriately trained people when they come to New Zealand."
A letter from forensic pathologists to Andrew Little in March 2018 made the following points:
The national forensic pathology service performs about 60% of all coronary post-mortems and all forensic examination post-mortems every year. The remaining coronary post-mortems are performed by coronal pathologists, who are anatomical (laboratory) pathologists. Coronal post-mortems have been performed to determine the cause of death, where this is unclear. Deaths under complex or suspicious circumstances, however, require a forensic post mortem. Forensic pathologists are obliged to visit places on crime, testify before the court and lead several fatalities.
The Ministry of Justice rejected the idea that the national forensic pathology service should be continued as a single entity, with investigation of suspicious deaths, killings and complex cases being carried out by forensic pathologists. It wants these cases to be managed locally and in some regions by coronary pathologists who have no knowledge, training or professional supervision in these types of cases. (This is currently being revised).
Forensic pathologists say that this will jeopardize police investigation and legal procedures and may result in missing murders. The Ministry of Justice relies on coronary pathologists to offer coronary autopsy services. Due to the change in training requirements by the medical college responsible for this specialty, forensic pathologists will soon be the only ones trained to perform post-mortem – and they are already underutilized. As the aging coronary workforce retire, forensic pathologists will not be able to close the gaps. A complete collapse of local coronary and forensic pathology services in some regions later this year is inevitable. In addition to the letter from forensic pathologists to the minister, a small delegation from the forensic pathology team and ASMS met with the Ministry of Justice (June 8, 2018) and then separately with Mr. Little (June 25, 2018) to express their concern. to face. ASMS has written to the Minister several times to call for his help and has made an urgent request from the OIA for information about the procurement process of the Ministry of Justice. ASMS also called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to intervene.
Mr. Powell says that the national forensic pathology service provides an essential service for both justice and health systems, and it is crucial that it has sufficient resources to maintain high quality, consistent service that is capable of experiencing attract medical specialists. "This service has been vulnerable for a very long time, and we really do not want this service to get any further in. The Ministry of Justice must be instructed to put its head in it and eliminate the mess that it has created ] "The Minister of Justice's refusal to get involved is directly opposed to the approach of health minister David Clark in his dealings with the sector, his statement of expectations regarding health centers in districts and his treatment of attempts to to privatize Taranaki's public laboratory. "