Medical Examiners

Date: 
10 March 2016
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has announced that all hospital deaths will be examined by a second doctor not previously involved in the care of the patient.

The announcement was welcomed by Claire Henry, CEO of the National Council for Palliative Care. Claire said: "We welcome this move by the Health Secretary, although we have yet to see the details of how it will be implemented. Although many people wish to die at home, in reality hospitals are the place where nearly half of deaths occur. We know from many reports, including inspections by the Care Quality Commission, that there is still much to be done to improve end of life care for people dying in hospital, and bring everyone’s care up to the level of the best. The opportunity to learn from each hospital death will lead to improvements that will benefit many people. 

"The Building on the Best programme we launched with Macmillan Cancer Support in 2015 is committed to improving end of life care by learning from places where it is already done well and sharing that across the NHS. This announcement will help improve this vital area of work as well.

"The NCPC also hopes that this approach will soon be extended beyond hospitals to include the care and experience of people dying at home and in community settings. It is essential that society makes sure everyone gets high-quality care at the end of life, whatever setting they are in.”

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