Train to become a medical examiner officer

 What do medical examiner officers do?

Medical examiner officers manage cases from initial notification through to completion and communication with the registrar. They are essential for the financial viability of the medical examiner system and effective and efficient working; the constant in the office, enabling consistency across medical examiners who will usually work part-time and come from a range of specialties.

Medical examiner officers will initially require guidance and support to undertake tasks delegated by the medical examiners. Over time, with experience and training, they will in turn be able to advise medical examiners about and support them with causes of death and coroner referrals. They will become well-placed to identify patterns and trends, and to act as a source of expert guidance to all users of the system.

They will obtain and carry out a preliminary review of all relevant medical records (and additional details where required) to develop a case file setting out the circumstances of each death for the medical examiner. This will require them to work with the coroner’s office, registrars, bereavement services, complaints managers, legal services and cremation referees. Their work is analogous to that of operating department practitioners assisting anaesthetists, scrub nurses assisting surgeons, nurses assisting physicians and coroner’s officers assisting coroners.

Medical examiners can delegate the following tasks to medical examiner officers:

  • discuss proposed causes of death with the qualified attending practitioner and advise about coroner referral
  • contact the bereaved before the MCCD is issued to establish if they have concerns or questions about the death, and if they do act on them appropriately.

The medical examiner officer must document all such interactions. Medical examiner officers Delegation is entirely appropriate in many cases, but the medical examiner must see the documentation before signing off the case.

Who can be a medical examiner officer?

A medical examiner officer may or may not have a clinical background. They will:

  • probably have experience in a patient or customer-facing role and of working in either current death certification systems, or a clinical or NHS setting
  • require an understanding of medical records and disease pathology
  • be able to provide advice on terminology and causes of death, and to explain these and the medical examiner’s thoughts and rationale to coroner’s officers, doctors and those with no medical understanding
  • have strong interpersonal skills and be comfortable working with people following a bereavement
  • build and maintain effective relationships with other stakeholders such as faith groups, funeral directors and legal services.

What requirements should be in a medical examiner officer’s job description?

A model job description for medical examiner officers is avaiable on the College website. In Wales, medical examiner officers are accountable to the lead medical examiner officer for Wales. In England, medical examiner officers will have a line manager within the employing organisation. Where the line manager is not the medical examiner, medical examiner officers will have an operational responsibility to the lead medical examiner.

Take the next step and train to become a medical examiner officer

Training for medical examiner officers has 2 components; e-learning and face-to-face training.


All Medical Examiners Officers should complete the 26 core e-learning modules before starting work in their role. There is no minimum time requirement but most people take 8-10 hours to complete the modules.

Complete your medical examiner officer core e-learning modules

Face-to-face learning 

Medical examiner officers should also attend a face-to-face training day within 6 months of starting the role. Attendance is only possible once the 26 core e-learning modules have been completed. Training days are held either online via Zoom, or in person at the College in London.

This essential training will include short presentations and small group discussions of case scenarios that medical examiner officers are likely to come across. The scenarios will be sent to delegates in advance so that they can consider how they would deal with each one. Model answers will be circulated following the event.

Find Medical Examiner Officer training dates in our calendar