§ Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether an independent review into the provision of forensic pathology services has been carried out. [HL2173]
§ Lord Falconer of Thoroton
My right honourable friend John Denham commissioned an independent review into the provision of forensic pathology services and the Government have accepted the key recommendations of that independent review. There is clearly a need to establish a unified forensic pathology service to deliver the needs of the police service, coroners and the wider criminal justice system. The Government intends to enable a standard high quality service to be offered across England and Wales; ensure availability of service by providing the framework of a career structure to retain existing practitioners and to attract new entrants to the field; facilitate the provision of specialist regional service delivery centres; and introduce improved management and budgetary controls for the provision of forensic pathology services.
Officials have been instructed to implement the key recommendations of the review as quickly as possible, with the intention that:
- By autumn 2003 we will move to new accreditation and disciplinary procedures based on model competencies; and have two centres prepared to deliver a training programme against the improved standards.
- By summer 2004 we will aim to have more newly trained, and operational forensic pathologists; an agreed career structure for the future national forensic pathology service; and developed contracts of employment.
John Denham will continue to take a close interest in progress and will receive regular reports on progress from the programme delivery board established to take this work forward. The delivery board will include representatives of both users and providers of forensic pathology services.
A copy of the review has been placed in the Library.