Business rules for accessing a confidential post mortem report

Prior to August 2020 upon reporting a death to the Coroner’s Court, Health Service Providers received routine copies of all forensic Post Mortem Reports (PMR) for inclusion in the deceased patient’s medical record. In addition to this routine process, Health Service Provider staff members were able to request from the Office of the State Coroner (OSC) a copy for quality improvement purposes (e.g. completing mortality review or investigation of a SAC 1 clinical incident). In support of these ad hoc requests, business rules were developed by the Coronial Liaison Unit (CLU)1 at the Department of Health in partnership with the OSC. 

Since August 2020 the OSC have advised that both routine provision and ad-hoc requests for PMRs are no longer automatically released by the Coroner’s Court. Health Service Providers are now required to seek Senior Next of Kin approval and provide this to the OSC for consideration of release of PMRs. To facilitate this a Senior Next of Kin Informed Consent Approval Form has been developed by the OSC. Section 37(5) of the Coroners Act 1996 includes a list of individuals from whom the Coroner’s Court may have identified the Senior Next of Kin. To request Senior Next of Kin approval Health Service Provider staff members are recommended to liaise with their local safety and quality team. 

For further assistance and information Health Service Providers can contact the Office of the State Coroner (external site), including to access a copy of the Senior Next of Kin Informed Consent Approval Form

Notes

1. The CLU resides within the Patient Safety Surveillance Unit, Patient Safety and Clinical Quality Directorate, and its primary role is to facilitate communication between the OSC and the Department of Health on matters relating to quality improvement in healthcare.

More information

Coronial Liaison Unit, Patient Safety Surveillance Unit
Email: CoronialLiaisonUnit.RoyalSt@health.wa.gov.au

Produced by

Patient Safety Surveillance Unit