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Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: The medical examiner role could transform our approach to handling death

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3035 (Published 06 August 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3035
  1. David Oliver
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}googlemail.com
    Follow David on Twitter: @mancunianmedic

In April 2019 NHS Improvement announced a national programme to introduce a new medical examiner role at all acute hospital trusts in England, to provide independent scrutiny of all deaths.12 Wales is adopting a similar approach.3 I can see potential for this initiative to transform the way doctors and hospitals handle and learn from death and to drive improvements in care and the experiences of bereaved people.

The current pandemic has brought temporary modifications under the emergency Coronavirus Act and covid-19 specific guidance regarding certification and notification of deaths.4 Covid-19 has highlighted the vital importance of accurate, scrutinised death certification.5

Under the new initiative, each acute trust should establish …

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