Death Under Scrutiny
How a new national system of medical examiners can support patient safety
Jo Martin | | Opinion
As of April 2019, the UK has implemented rollout of a national system of medical examiners to increase patient safety and support bereaved families – a step forward that I believe will provide increased accountability, sensitivity, and credibility to the processes surrounding a death.
What is a medical examiner? These doctors are senior physicians from a range of disciplines including pathology, primary care, acute medicine, and many other specialties. They act as independent doctors in the review of deaths. Why has the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) decided to employ medical examiners? Three independent inquiries into NHS failings – the Shipman Inquiry, the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, and the Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation – recommended that certificates for cause of death should be scrutinized by an independent doctor.
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