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Outside the Lab Forensics, Profession

Post–Mortem Potential

I don’t think it is overstating things to say that there is a crisis in the provision of post-mortem services in the United Kingdom. Almost all post-mortems performed are for the Coroner, with very few hospital or consented examinations taking place. Coroners are increasingly finding it difficult to get their post-mortem examinations done, as pathologists are in short supply these days and must concentrate on diagnostic work for the living.

A recent report on forensic pathology and coronial post-mortems (1) sets out the current challenges. But it’s getting worse. My hope is that we can develop a new national service for the investigation of deaths, as the report recommends. Unfortunately, three different government departments – Justice, Health, and the Home Office – are involved, so coordination is complex. The Royal College of Pathologists is working with all of the agencies involved to try to find a solution.

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About the Author

Suzy Lishman

Suzy Lishman CBE is Consultant Histopathologist at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and immediate past president of the Royal College of Pathologists.

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