Coroner reform is 'opportunity lost', say doctors leaders

Please remember to credit BMA News, the membership magazine of the British Medical Association

Coroner reform is 'opportunity lost', say doctors leaders

Government plans for coroner reform are inadequate and underfunded - and cannot be endorsed by doctors leaders, the BMA says.

Doctors claim proposals on reforming death certification and the coroner system in England and Wales do not go far enough and 'the opportunity of a lifetime to reform an outdated system set up in the 19th century has been lost'.

Ministers aim to ensure there are adequate inquiries into deaths and that the bereaved get all the answers they need. The bill proposes giving bereaved families proper legal status in the inquest system and establishing national standards with leadership through a new position of chief coroner.

But the BMA is warning the government that it could be perceived as 'tinkering with the system' rather than delivering a much-needed radical overhaul.

Doctors leaders have strong concerns. These include:

• Local coroners will continue to be appointed and paid by local authorities, which the BMA fears could result in quality variation. It wants to see a true national service
• There are no plans to increase the number of coronial support staff
• There is a lack of guidelines on autopsies

BMA forensic medicine committee chairman Dr George Fernie has told the DCA (Department for Constitutional Affairs) the association 'would not be able to endorse a partly reformed, underfunded system that was not fit for purpose'.

Doctors have expressed their extreme disappointment and concern to the DCA, which is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny on the draft Coroner Reform Bill.

Full text of story is available from the Press Office

Ends
Embargo: 00:01 hrs Friday, 15 September 2006

 
For more information please contact:
Press Office
Tel: 020 7383 6254
Fax: 020 7383 6403

Email: pressoffice@bma.org.uk
 
Public Affairs Division
British Medical Association
BMA House
Tavistock Square
London
WC1H 9JP

+44 (0) 208 651 5130
+44 (0) 208 374 4128
+44 (0) 1525 379 792
+44 (0) 7747 394 450
+44 (0)7855 145 274

http://www.bma.org.uk/presscentre

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

The original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

First COVID-19 vaccine to target Omicron variant approved for use in UK

The MHRA has approved an updated version of the Moderna vaccine that targets both...

Ballot box

Majority of GPs back taking industrial action in the coming year, poll suggests

The majority of GPs support taking industrial action in the coming 12 months to push...

RCGP sign

NHS winter plan does not provide enough support for GPs, warns RCGP

NHS England's winter plan does not include enough measures to support general practice...

NHS sign

Plans to recruit 1,000 new link workers to support GP practices this winter

NHS England has set out plans to recruit an additional 1,000 social prescribing link...

BMA House

BMA prepares to ballot junior doctors on industrial action

Junior doctors will be balloted over industrial action if the government does not...

Typing on a laptop

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following cyber attack

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following the cyber attack on a...