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Forensic Pathologists go 24/7

30 June 2005

Forensic Pathologists go 24/7

The Ministry of Justice and the Auckland District Health Board tomorrow launch a new national forensic pathology service that provides forensic pathologists for the Police, across the whole of New Zealand.

Courts Minister Rick Barker said from tomorrow (1 July) the Ministry of Justice will operate an improved new investigation service for use by Police to provide nationwide coverage for their work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

" For some time there's been concern that a shortage of forensic pathologists to provide these services to Police, combined with an informal approach to their contracting, may lead to operational problems.

"A Cabinet review of this area has lead to a series of initiatives aimed at addressing this situation. This new service is the first of a number of initiatives that the Ministry is working on in respect of pathology services.

"The Ministry has contracted the Auckland District Health Board to provide the services of a core group of qualified forensic pathologists, to be known as regional forensic pathologists (RFPs).

"Across the country Police will now have the right people with the right skills available in the form of the Regional Forensic Pathologists as and when they are needed," says Mr Barker.

The Ministry of Justice administers the Coroners Act 1988 and is responsible for the remuneration of pathologists providing services for Coroners such as post mortems.

When a death is a homicide or of a suspicious or complex nature, the Police become involved and forensic pathologists provide specialist assistance for the postmortem. Forensic Pathologists are also routinely called upon to attend crime scenes, provide specialist consultation services to the Police, Coroner's and Courts, present expert opinion for Police, Coroners and Courts and provide identification services in situations such as mass disasters.

ENDS


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