- Supplementary report finds North Metropolitan Health Service 'both thorough and appropriate' in investigating erroneous DNA matching at PathWest in 2004
- Two out of the 10 recommendations from the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA completed, others are underway
A supplementary report, the final report of the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, has found that the North Metropolitan Health Service was 'both thorough and appropriate' in its review of erroneous DNA matching in 2004, and that there was no evidence of erroneous DNA matching in any other case.
The Ross Inquiry was conducted to determine whether the Forensic Biology Department of PathWest issued incorrect evidence, results or reports to the WA Police or WA Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Of the five matters covered by the Inquiry, four were addressed in the Ross Inquiry Report tabled in State Parliament on October 19, 2017.
The final matter - a review of an internal audit conducted by the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) into erroneous DNA matching in 2004 - is subject to the supplementary report tabled today.
The supplementary report confirmed the NMHS's audit was 'thorough and appropriate' and endorsed the 10 recommendations for improvements at PathWest put forward in the original Ross Inquiry Report, which related to areas including peer review, governance, IT systems, and labelling of items.
Two of the 10 recommendations have already been completed, including:
- A State Government commitment of $4 million to relocate the PathWest Forensic Biology Department to new premises; and
- Proposing a national methodology for peer review.
The remaining eight recommendations are being progressed by the North Metropolitan Health Service.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The State Government welcomes the findings of this report and the culmination of the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA.
"PathWest's Forensic Biology Department has made significant enhancements to the processes used for the issue of intelligence reports to the WA Police.
"As a result, many of the manual processes that were in place in 2004 - the time which this erroneous DNA matching occurred - have already been replaced with automated solutions.
"PathWest continues to enhance its procedures by developing and implementing further automated IT systems in order to eliminate or at least minimise manual processes, and refine existing peer review processes to minimise error.
"This final report closes an important chapter for PathWest, which continues to deliver high-quality forensic services for the State."
Minister's office - 6552 6500
Note: The Ross Inquiry was conducted by Alastair Ross AM, a former founding Director of the National Institute of Forensic Science, former Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Group and former Chair of the National Association of Testing Authorities.