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Delays By Ministry Of Justice Results In Autopsy Room Closure

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

CEO of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Phil Cammish said today that the failure by Ministry of Justice officials to complete the agreed actions from a hui held in January this year, has necessitated the closure of the autopsy room at Tauranga Hospital. Mr Cammish said this will result in two to three autopsies a week having to be performed outside Tauranga.

"We will continue to provide services for the management of the deceased. This will allow families and whānau to be with their loved ones if there is a delay in funeral arrangements and includes an area for viewing and a whānau room.

"Despite the undertakings given at a public meeting by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) officials in January 2010 that they would have completed within three months, a plan for an alternative autopsy service including consultation with Iwi, key stakeholders and our community, we were advised this week that they've not made any progress.

"Identified OHS issues with the autopsy room and the resulting legal risks to the DHB of allowing MoJ contracted pathologists to perform autopsies in the room means that we can no longer allow the use of a facility for this purpose.

"We therefore have no other option than to close the autopsy room with immediate effect. (5pm Friday 8 October 2010)

Mr Cammish said that currently all paediatric and forensic autopsies are performed in other centres and the closure of the autopsy room will mean that an additional two to three autopsies a week will have to be done away from Tauranga.

Mr Cammish said the MoJ has been aware that the autopsy room did not meet the miniumum standards required by them in their contract for nearly two years. The DHB has, in good faith, continued to provide access for autopsies to be performed but can no longer do so given the ongoing OHS risk.

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