Background to medical examiners

A national network of medical examiners was recommended by the Shipman, Mid-Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay public inquiries. The College campaigned for their implementation and continues to play a key role in influencing the government’s work around the implementation of the service.

As the lead medical royal college for medical examiners, the College provides medical examiner training, information on setting up a medical examiner system and advice on how to become a medical examiner.

Extending medical examiner scrutiny to non-acute settings

We welcome the rollout of the medical examiner system to cover deaths in non-acute and community settings.

It is another important step towards creating a world-leading system of death investigation and patient safety improvement, with every death in England and Wales that is not reported to a Coroner being scrutinised by an independent medical examiner.

Crucially it will also give all bereaved families the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns about the care of a loved one.

The RCPath has trained over 1500 medical examiners and medical examiner officers and expects to train many more over the coming months.

Timeline to the introduction of Medical examiners

March 2016 - the government's consultation on the introduction of medical examiners opened. The College encouraged members to respond and published a pamphlet, Medical examiners, explaining the background of the policy to help respondents.

June 2016 – the College arranged a roundtable with leading representatives of patient groups, charities, local and central government, and the coronial and health services invited to discuss the issues, particularly in relation to the practicalities of implementation.

October 2017 - Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, announced that a national system of medical examiners would be introduced from April 2019.

June 2018 – the Government confirmed that a national system of medical examiners would be introduced from April 2019.