Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced the formation of a high-level taskforce to review the coronial process in NSW.

Ms Cooke has been working hard to seek improvements to the way post-mortem examinations are carried out following heartbreaking delays for grieving families.

“This is a positive move in the right direction, and one which I hope will start the process of easing the burden on bereaved families,” Ms Cooke said.

“There have been some difficult situations endured by families who have reached out to me to seek help in reducing the time it can take for a post-mortem examination to be carried out.

“I have been holding meetings with Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Attorney-General Mark Speakman to explore what can be done to improve this deeply unsatisfactory situation.

“This taskforce will carry out a complete review of the coronial process.

“The recent delays were due to the Forensic Medicine facility in Newcastle managing an unprecedented number of cases, including a spike in complex homicide and paediatric cases requiring police attendance.

“This was also compounded by an international shortage of specialist forensic pathologists making it difficult to find qualified staff.

“I understand that people in Wagga Wagga have also been experiencing similar issues and that the local member Joe McGirr has met with the Health Minister about reviewing the coronial autopsy process. I hope that we can work together to resolve this issue.

“This taskforce will look at ways of reducing wait times for rural and regional families, and I am encouraged by this development.

“In addition to a review, the Government is also considering legislative changes that could decrease the number unnecessary coronial autopsies.

“While it is vital that the post-mortem process is rigorous, this taskforce will closely examine whether there is room for alterations to the coronial process which will enable a family to reach a point of closure in a more timely manner.”