1 December 2017

The Royal College of Pathologists welcomes the Annual Report of the Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC.

The shortage of pathologists highlighted in the report, particularly in respect of coronial autopsies, is of great concern. We welcome the Chief Coroner’s call for a national service. It is vital that post-mortem services are seen as part of the wider patient safety landscape - the accurate investigation and certification of death underpins the delivery of health services for the living and should be part of the NHS’s core business.

The College has pressed for the introduction of medical examiners, and the announcement regarding their introduction from 2019 is a significant step forward.

The report helpfully addresses some of the tensions in the funding and funding structures which underlie some of the problems in recruiting pathologists to assist coroners, and we look forward to progress in this area. We will continue to work constructively with the Chief Coroner’s Office, through our regular meetings and their representation on our Death Investigation Group. 

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