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Medical Examiner Service

Please accept our deepest condolences following the death of your relative or friend.

The Medical Examiner service was rolled out across the NHS in England from 2019 with the aim of improving death certification and ensuring that bereaved families and friends are kept at the centre of the process.

By introducing this new service, the NHS aims to provide an opportunity for the bereaved to ask questions about the cause of death and discuss the care that their friend or relative received.


Medical Examiners are senior NHS doctors who have not been involved in the care of the person who died. Medical Examiner Officers are the clinical support for the MEs. They have all had specialist training to undertake the roles and help families during these difficult times, knowing the bereaved will need support.

MEs and MEOs review the relevant medical records and discuss the care with the medical team who were looking after the person who died. This is to ensure that when completing the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), the document accurately reflects the details of the cause of death.

Medical Examiners or their team (MEOs) will discuss the cause of death with the bereaved family or close friends. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions, give any feedback or raise concerns, if you have any, in relation to your loved one’s death.

You will receive a telephone call a few days after the death. The ME can make it easier for you to understand some of the medical language in the MCCD or the patient’s records. In some situations, the death is discussed with the Coroner’s Office. By law, some deaths must be reported and then investigated by the Coroner. The ME office are guided by the Coroner’s decisions, but that may mean they cannot issue the MCCD. The ME Office will be able to support you if Coroner involvement is required.

Further information is provided in the following link:

Notification of Deaths Regulations

The Coroner’s Service investigate deaths where, for whatever reason, a doctor cannot issue a medical certificate of cause of death. This is an investigation independent from the Medical Examiner, although they may still provide expert medical advice to the Coroner.

Some deaths must be reported to the Coroner. You can read more information on the Coroner’s website:

Coventry Coroner Website

Warwickshire Coroner Website

You can also receive guidance in other formats by emailing the Ministry of Justice at coroners@justice.gov.uk (this is the part of the government responsible for the guidance of causes of death).

A discussion with the Medical Examiner or their team will provide you with an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with someone who was not involved in providing care to your loved one who has died.

It could be as simple as helping you to understand more about the treatment and causes of death or to understand the medical language used. There may be some aspect about their care which you would like to discuss, and this is your opportunity to have a conversation about your thoughts and feelings.

If the Medical Examiners find any issues with care that need further inquiry, they will refer these cases to someone within the Trust who can arrange this.

As well as answering your questions, this can help the NHS provide better care for other patients and carers in the future. It may provide ways in which patient and family care could be improved.

Yes, this can be discussed when the ME’s team contact you, or you can let the Bereavement Team know if you would rather they spoke to someone else on your behalf.

If you change your mind and feel able to talk to the team about the death of your relative or friend, you can let the team know at any point.

We understand this is likely to be a difficult time for you. Speaking to someone is completely your choice. If you are not sure, you can contact the Medical Examiner or a member of their team on 024 76964793 or 024 76965863 and ask for more information before deciding if you want to go ahead.

The Medical Examiner Office is open for calls between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

Medical Examiners make every effort to avoid any delays and work with families and friends of the deceased to allow registering of deaths.

Medical Examiners and their team will try to be flexible, especially where relatives need access to the deceased, or release of the deceased quickly for cultural or religious reasons.

If it has been decided that your relative or friend will require a post mortem, they will then be under the care of the Coroner’s service.

Post mortems are performed at University Hospital Coventry, which means that your relative or friend will be transferred there.

Post mortems are usually carried out within 2 to 3 working days following death and the information shared directly with the Coroner.

You will be kept fully informed, by the Coroner’s office, throughout to help you with your plans.

If you are unhappy with the Medical Examiner’s advice, we recommend that you discuss this with staff from the Medical Examiner’s office.

You can contact the Medical Examiner office by:

Telephone: 024 76964793, 024 76965863, 024 76966062, 024 76967203, 024 76967618, or 024 76965645

Postal Address:

Ground Floor – Bereavement Suite

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Clifford Bridge Road

Coventry

CV2 2DX

Email: Medical.Examiner@uhcw.nhs.uk

Opening hours: 8am to 4pm (Monday to Friday)

 

You can also contact:

HM Coroner for Coventry: Delroy Henry

The Register Office

Cheylesmore Manor House

Manor House Drive

Coventry

CV1 2ND

Email: coroner@coventry.gov.uk

Telephone: 024 7697 5509

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9am to 3.30pm (Friday)

 

HM Coroner for Warwickshire: Sean McGovern

Warwickshire Justice Centre

Newbold Terrace

Leamington Spa

CV32 4EL

Email: coroner@warwickshire.gov.uk

Telephone numbers: 01926 412542, 01926 738409, 01926 738410, 01926 738411, 01926 738412 or 01926 738413

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9am to 3:30pm (Friday)