Clinical negligence team welcomes decision to publish coroners’ reports

Posted: 16/01/2014


Every year over 600 reports aimed at ‘preventing future deaths’ are prepared by coroners in England and Wales after holding an inquest. In a change to previous practice, these reports are now to be published online and will be readily available to members of the public on the Judiciary website at www.judiciary.gov.uk.

These reports are made in circumstances where coroners have concerns that future deaths may arise out of similar circumstances and feel that steps could or should be taken to reduce that risk. In the report they will make recommendations ranging from speed restrictions on roads and additional training in hospitals to changes in military equipment used in Afghanistan. Such reports are for the benefit of organisations, individuals and public bodies with the aim of saving lives by highlighting risks which can be reduced.

Commenting on this recent development, Lucie Prothero, associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, said: “It is good news that greater transparency is being introduced in the realm of coroners’ reports. We regularly represent families at inquests where they have lost loved ones due to poor standards of medical care. A vital part of the coroner’s role is to identify areas where improvements can be made so that standards are raised. In the medical field, this can range from recommending higher staffing levels and different systems of working to additional guidelines and improved processes. It is a positive step to make coroners’ recommendations accessible to all so that lessons can be learned from sad cases of avoidable deaths and the public can see where there are issues of concern and the steps that are being taken to address them.”


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