Become a medical examiner

Medical examiners will soon become a core part of the process of investigating patient deaths across the NHS in England and Wales. In order to become a medical examiner, you first need to ensure you have the right knowledge and qualifications, before completing both online and face-to-face training.

College membership for medical examiners

The Royal College of Pathologists would like to welcome new medical examiners as members of the College. 

Medical examiners will be eligible to join on completion of the 26 e-learning modules and the face to face training. They must also demonstrate current registration with the GMC and have a licence to practise. As part of their membership they will be awarded the use of the new post nominals ‘RCPathME’. 

An annual membership fee, £100 in the first year, will be charged to remain a member and use the post nominals (RCPath College fellows will not be required to pay the £100 annual membership fee).

What do medical examiners do?

The role of medical examiner is to:

  • confirm the proposed cause of death of a patient and ensure accurate completion of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCDs)
  • advise whether the death needs referral to the Coroner for further investigation
  • detect and report clinical governance concerns

A medical examiner must always be independent of the case and is responsible for completing the following steps to arrive at their decision:

  • a proportionate review of medical records
  • interaction with the attending doctor
  • interaction with the bereaved

The above should be completed within 24 hours of the medical notes being received (for cases not investigated by the Coroner). The interaction with the attending doctor and the bereaved may be undertaken in collaboration with medical examiner officers.

For more information about the role of medical examiners, download the model job description, which has been produced and approved by the Department of Health and Social Care.

What qualifications and experience do I need?

All medical examiners must have:

  • registration and a licence to practice medicine in the UK from the GMC
  • five years post-registration experience
  • experience at consultant grade or GP principal equivalent
  • up to date knowledge of medical conditions, treatments and causes of death
  • knowledge of relevant legislation and processes
  • knowledge of local and national clinical governance systems
  • strong communication skills that enable them to deliver their role in a compassionate, professional and discreet manner
  • ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team.

How do I train and find a post?

If you fulfil the above requirements, you will need to complete the mandatory components of the national online medical examiner training and face-to-face training organised by the RCPath.

Medical examiners will be employed in acute Trusts in England and Health Boards in Wales. Recruitment will take place locally.

Get started

If you have decided you would like to become a medical examiner, you can start by completing your e-learning training and dates for the face-to-face training will be announced in February.