Reform to reduce coroner delays closer after Board of Deputies meeting with Nadine Dorries
16 November 2020
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A reform that could lead to significant reduction in coroner delays is one step closer after the Board of Deputies met with Nadine Dorries MP, the Minister for Patient Safety.

Ms Dorries is overseeing the introduction of medical examiners, now based in NHS trusts, and aiming to scrutinise all deaths, improve death certification, and reduce unnecessary referrals to coroners.

The Minister requested that the Board of Deputies engage with civil servants to ensure that medical examiners are effective. Board of Deputies proposals include that:

  • On referral to the coroner, the medical examiner should advise whether the body needs to be retained further
  • Medical examiners should be able to organise non-invasive autopsies
  • Medical examiners should have duty of care obligations to the deceased and to the bereaved family.

Also attending the meeting was Professor David Katz, medical advisor to the Board, Sidney Sinitsky of the Addas Yisroel Burial Society and Rabbi Stanley Coten who represents Jewish hospital chaplains in NHS structures.

Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies said: “The Jewish community has positive relations with the vast majority of coroners, and we appreciate all their hard work on behalf of the community. We told the Minister that we have already established a very good relationship with Chief Medical Examiner, Dr Alan Fletcher, and with Lead London Medical Examiner Dr Mette Rodgers, pending passage of legislation that the Minister hopes will be introduced soon.”

“There is no doubt that in recent years increased coroner referral and decreased hospital autopsies has led in some cases to difficulties for our community. We appreciate Ms Dorries’ support, and we hope that her proposal that working with civil servants on the medical examiner reform will bring real benefits”.