Electronic Reporting of Deaths to the Coroner
The Coroners’ Office is made up of a number of administration staff and Coroners’ Officers who all work for the Senior Coroner, Martin Fleming.
The administration staff are currently based at the Coroner’s Court (within the Magistrates Court in Bradford) and are employed by Bradford Council. The Coroners’ Officers are based at Trafalgar House Police station in Bradford and are civilian staff employed by West Yorkshire Police. There are two Coronial jurisdictions within the area covered by West Yorkshire Police. The Eastern & Western districts. The Western area is covered by Mr Fleming and includes all the areas covered by Practices in Calderdale.
A review of the Coroner's Office was carried out in 2016. It identified several areas that required improvement. These included methods of working and outdated IT systems that resulted in the staff being less efficient, effective and productive. Once areas of change had been identified and supported by the Chief Officer team the Implementation of those changes began.
The review identified that a large amount of time was being spent by staff on the phone taking death referrals or making calls back to Doctors to get information and then typing this information onto the Police systems. The Eastern Coroners district moved to the use of electronic referrals over a year ago and have reported that this is working very well for them and the Doctors alike.
Benefits of E-referrals
- Audit trail of information between Doctors and the Coroner
- Allows the Coroner to make informed decisions with confidence that the information with which he is presented is as provided by the Doctor
- Ensures the integrity of the information - details and facts are not lost in translation
- Saves time for Doctors - can complete the form when it suits them, avoids wasted phone calls where they are unable to get through, allows an avenue for the Coroner to update Doctors electronically rather than disturbing them while they are with a patient
- Reduces workload for administrative staff
- Embraces technology
- Electronic Death Reporting is now nationally accepted and is being adopted in Coronial areas as best practice
When to refer to the Coroner
Refer to the Coroner if the following apply:
- You can’t state the likely cause of death
- You weren’t there when the deceased died
- You didn’t see the deceased within the 14 days before or after their death
- The cause of death isn’t natural
- The deceased was being detained, for example in police custody, when they died
If you’re referring a death to the Coroner, or know that a death will be referred, please explain to the family:
- That you aren’t issuing the MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death)
- Why you aren’t issuing the MCCD
- That they can’t register the death at this time
- That you have referred the death to the Coroner
- A member of the Coroner’s staff will contact them in the coming days to explain what will happen next.
Procedure (In the short term)
- Doctors can access the electronic referral form from the Bradford Council website or it can be downloaded by clicking here
- Completed forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- All fields must be completed to give the Coroner's Officer all the details required by HM Coroner about the deceased
- If there is any information that is unknown, it should be stated on the form
- If there are any comments or queries that do not fit within the context of the form these should be noted on the email
- The Senior Coroner's Officer will receive each form and allocate the death to a Coroner's Officer
Another area for improved identified by the review was IT.
A new IT system has been introduced by the Local Authority Legal Services Department and is soon to be adopted by the Coroners' Department. Once this is fully operational those referring deaths will be asked to do so online by logging into a portal. This will then self populate to the Coroners new IT system.
Published 21st April 2018