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Found 166 results
  1. Content Article
    In November 2023, the Parliament’s Justice Select Committee launched a follow-up inquiry to The Coroner Service, to examine changes and progress since the first inquiry in 2020-2021.
  2. News Article
    A mental health trust linked to thousands of unexpected patient deaths repeatedly failed to act on coroners' safety warnings, campaigners say. BBC News has been given exclusive access to new evidence from coroners' reports gathered by a campaign group. It wants a criminal investigation into why so many patients died at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - and has sent police the evidence. Campaigners, including patients and bereaved families, claim it is failing to make vital safety improvements despite promising to do so. Last summer, a report found more than 8,000 mental-health patients had died unexpectedly in Norfolk and Suffolk between 2019 and 2022. This is defined as the death of a patient who has not been identified as critically ill or whose death is not expected by the clinical team. The new evidence, based on 38 coroners' prevention of future death (PFD) reports since 2013, suggests there were repeated warnings more patients could die unless safety issues were addressed, including: dangerously poor record-keeping and communication family concerns being ignored unsafe levels of staffing at the trust. And campaigners say the trust's failure to improve safety has led to more deaths. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 March 2024
  3. News Article
    Coroners in England and Wales sent 109 warnings to health bodies and the government in 2023 highlighting long NHS waits, staff shortages or a lack of NHS resources, the BBC has found. The number of cases identified that were linked to NHS pressures was the highest in the past six years. Prevention of future death reports (PFDs) are sent when a coroner thinks action is needed to protect lives. About 35,000 inquests take place in England and Wales each year. In a fraction of those - about 450 - the coroner writes a PFD, or Regulation 28, report. The BBC analysed 2,600 PFDs - and supporting documentation - sent between 2018 and 2023. The proportion of the total number of PFD reports that referenced an NHS resource issue rose to one in five in 2023, from one in nine in the two years before Covid. Of the 540 reports written last year, 109 were found that highlighted a long wait for NHS treatment, a shortage of medical staff or a lack of NHS resources such as beds or scanners. Of these, 26 involved mental illness or suicide, and 31 involved ambulances and emergency services. The government says it "responds to, and learns from, every report". Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 March 2024
  4. Content Article
    Dr Georgia Richards provides oral evidence to the UK Parliamentary Justice Select Committee's follow-up inquiry to the Coroner Service on 20 February 2024. Watch all of the evidence given by Georgia including: Part 1: Inconsistencies in coroner reports Part 2: Could sanctions improve the Coroner Service? Part 3: Improving the status and ability of coroner reports Part 4: Barriers to making changes Part 5: The potential future utility of the Tracker In part 1, shown in the below video, Dr Richards is asked what the evidence is for variation in writing coroner reports in England and Wales.
  5. Content Article
    Nicholas Gerasimidis had a history of mental illness manifesting as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. In 2022, his condition deteriorated. His GP referred him twice to the Community Mental Health Team but the referrals were rejected with medication being prescribed instead, together with advice to contact Talking Therapies.   He was taken on to CMHT workload after being assessed by the Psychiatric Liaison Team in Royal Cornwall Hospital in November 2022. The preferred course of treatment was psychological treatment in the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Exposure Response Prevention. There was a waiting list of a year. In May 2023, Mr Gerasimidis became worse. It was felt an informal admission to hospital was required but a bed was not available. He was found hanged at his home address on 3 June 2023.
  6. News Article
    A newly installed electronic patient record contributed to the “preventable” death of a 31-year-old woman in an emergency department, a trust has been warned. Emily Harkleroad died at University Hospital of North Durham in December 2022 following “failures to provide [her] with appropriate and timely treatment” for a pulmonary embolism, a coroner has said. The inquest into her death heard emergency clinicians had raised concerns about a newly installed electronic patient record, provided by Oracle Cerner, which they said did not have an escalation function which could clearly and quickly identify the most critical patients. The inquest heard the new EPR, installed in October 2022, did not have a “RAG rating” system in which information on patient acuity “was easily identifiable by looking at a single page on a display screen” – as was the case with the previous IT system. The software instead relied on symbols next to patients’ names which indicate their level of acuity when clicked on, but did “not [provide] a clear indication at first glance” of their level of acuity. Rebecca Sutton, assistant coroner for County Durham and Darlington, said that “errors and delays” meant Ms Harkleroad did not receive the anticoagulant treatment that she needed and “which would, on a balance of probabilities, have prevented her death”. “It is my view that, especially in times of extreme pressure on the emergency department, a quick and clear way of identifying the most critically ill patients is an important tool that could prevent future deaths.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 February 2024
  7. Content Article
    On 18 December 2022, Emily Harkleroad collapsed when out with a friend. She was taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Durham Emergency Department. Despite staff recognising that pulmonary embolism was the likely diagnosis, there were failures to provide Emily with appropriate and timely treatment for pulmonary embolism. Errors and delays in the Emily’s medical treatment resulted in her not receiving the anticoagulant treatment that she needed, and which would, on a balance of probabilities, have prevented her death. She died as a result of pulmonary embolism in the early hours of 19 December 2022 at the University Hospital of North Durham.
  8. Content Article
    On 29 December 2022, Shahzadi Khan was detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act due to her mental state and the risks she presented. She was found to have had a manic episode with psychotic symptoms. Due to a lack of beds, she was placed in a privately-run mental health hospital in Norfolk. She remained there until her discharge to the family home on 26 January 2023. She was commenced on Olanzapine and Zopiclone for her mental health whilst an inpatient.   Her diagnosis on discharge was mania with psychotic symptoms. She was to remain on olanzapine in the community. Her placement out of area contributed to disjointed and inadequate discharge planning to support her in the community and was exacerbated by poor communication between the team managing out of area placements and the local team. As a consequence, the aftercare planning did not take place in accordance with S117 Mental Health Act.   This was exacerbated by a failure by all health professionals involved in her care within the mental health trust to recognise that she needed to be referred on to the Trafford Shared Care pathway. A referral would have ensured she received support and care for at least 12 weeks when she returned to the community. There is no clear reason for this failure. She was seen by the Home-Based Treatment Team (HBTT) on 28 January and 2 February, then discharged back to her GP. Within a week of that discharge from HBTT, which meant she had been left with no mental health support, she had deteriorated significantly. On 9 February her GP sent her to hospital for emergency assessment due to her presentation. She was discharged home to be seen by the Home- Based Treatment Team on 11th February. She was seen by that team on 11, 12, and 13 February. There was still no recognition of the fact that the Trafford policy was not being followed. She had indicated her lack of compliance with olanzapine, suicidal thoughts and her behaviour on 13th February was erratic. On 14 February 2023 she took a fatal overdose of prescribed zopiclone at her home address.
  9. News Article
    A prostate cancer patient went a year without a check-up because his referral to a consultant was lost. An inquest into the death of Thomas Ithell also heard that when the error was spotted it was not recorded because staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital were too busy. The 77-year-old from Wrexham died in November 2022 after being admitted to hospital with shortness of breath. Assistant Coroner for North Wales East and Central, Kate Robertson, has submitted a Prevention of Future Deaths report to the health board in relation to Mr Ithell's case. As well as concerns over the lack of an investigation, she also questioned how the patient's follow-up appointment was missed. "There have been no assurances as to what, if any, changes and learning have been identified other than a tracking system for PSA monitoring," she wrote, referring to a type of blood test that helps diagnose prostate cancer. She was also concerned to learn that the hospital's Datix system - used for reporting incidents such as Mr Ithell's - had been described as "not user-friendly". Time constraints also sometimes prevented staff from completing these reports, thereby failing to trigger subsequent investigations by the board, the assistant coroner added. "I remain incredibly concerned that where matters are not raised in accordance with internal health board processes that assurances given to me in previous Prevention of Future Deaths reports cannot be supported," Ms Robertson added. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 January 2024
  10. Content Article
    Thomas Ithell was aged 77 at the time of his death on 20 November 2022. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2017 and biopsies revealed bilateral adenocarcinoma of the prostate. He underwent radiotherapy in 2018 and hormone deprivation treatment. From April 2021 onwards his PSA levels increased periodically. In October 2021 his level was 5.5ng/ml having been 1.5ng/m lin April 2021 and 2.7ng/m in July 2021 indicating a recurrence of the cancer and likely incurable. Thomas Ithell was reluctant to undergo further hormone treatment as he found tolerating the side effects difficult. He did not then have his PSA levels tested after November 2021 and was not reviewed at all due to becoming missed to follow up. After he had been seen by the nurse practitioner on 5 November 2021, the letter written by the nurse practitioner for advice from the consultant did not reach the consultant. He was reviewed by a consultant on 22 October 2022 after an urgent suspected cancer GP referral following routine set of blood tests in September 2022, some 10 months later. Mr Ithell died in hospital on 20 November 2022 having been admitted with shortness of breath, the malignancy having caused his death.
  11. Content Article
    The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) is an online repository of coronial data from Australia and New Zealand.
  12. Content Article
    On the 9 December 2022, Dennis John William King suffered sudden chest pain which extended down his arm. His wife called 999 and spoke with an ambulance service call handler. Following triage of the call, the response to Mr King's call was graded as a Category 3 (a potentially urgent condition which is not life threatening with a target response of 120 minutes). This call was subsequently re-graded following review in the call centre to a Category 2 (a potentially serious condition requiring rapid assessment, urgent on scene intervention or transport to hospital, with a response within 40 minutes and a target of 18 minutes).   Upon hearing that the waiting time for an ambulance could be as long as six hour, Mr and Mrs King decided to make their own way to the West Suffolk Hospital. The ambulance service were advised and the response stood down.   Within 40 minutes of arrival Mr King had been diagnosed as suffering an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Treating clinicians assessed his condition as necessitating an urgent transfer to the Royal Papworth and for the angioplasty procedure to be conducted forthwith. The ambulance call centre was contacted by the hospital emergency department with a request for an urgent transfer to the Royal Papworth. Emergency department staff were advised that there would be a 5 hour delay for an ambulance to attend. The call from the hospital emergency department to the ambulance service was graded by the ambulance call handler as a category 2 response. When the response timing was challenged the emergency department matron was advised that the hospital was a place of safety. The ambulance call handler assessment did not seem to take into account the clinical assessment of accident and emergency department staff who, in consultation with the regional cardiac intervention hospital, had determined Mr King's further treatment at the regional cardiac centre was a matter of urgency. An ambulance subsequently arrived at West Suffolk Hospital Accident and Emergency Department and transferred Mr King to the Royal Papworth Hospital where he underwent treatment for what was identified as an occluded left anterior descending artery. About 1 hour after the procedure, Mr King's condition deteriorated and he suffered a left ventricular wall rupture, a recognised complication of either the myocardial infarction he had suffered or the surgical procedure to correct the occluded artery, or both. He received emergency surgery to repair the rupture by way of a patch which was successful. However, his condition deteriorated and he died on the 13 December 2022. The medical cause of death was confirmed as: 1a Multi Organ Failure 1b Post myocardial infarction left ventricular free wall rupture (operated on).
  13. News Article
    The availability of ambulances to transfer patients to specialist units is a "matter of concern", a coroner has warned. Darren Stewart, area coroner for Suffolk, made the comments in a Prevention of Future Deaths report. It followed the death of 84-year-old Dennis King, who waited three hours to be transferred from West Suffolk Hospital to Royal Papworth in 2022. Mr King had made his own way to the West Suffolk Hospital's accident and emergency department in December 2022, after being told an ambulance could take six hours to arrive at his home due to high demand in the area, the report said. His call had been graded as category two, which should have led to a response within 40 minutes - or a target of 18 minutes. After tests at West Suffolk Hospital showed Mr King had suffered a STEMI heart attack, emergency clinicians liaised with experts from the regional heart unit and decided he needed an urgent transfer to Royal Papworth in Cambridgeshire. The report said a matron at West Suffolk told ambulance call handlers they needed an urgent transfer - but because Mr King was classed as being in a "place of safety", control room staff said the delay would be "several hours". Mr Stewart said: "the availability of ambulances to carry out transfers in a timely manner, in urgent cases" was "a matter of concern". In the report, Mr Stewart said the circumstances of the case "raised concerns about the NHS approach to centralising care in regional centres" if the means to deliver it were "inadequate". Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 January 2024
  14. Content Article
    Elizabeth Roberts was severely frail and bedbound, supported by visits from care agency carers four times per day and her local District Nursing Team. She had ischaemic and hypertensive heart disease and developed a large sacral sore with associated sepsis. She was admitted to Tameside General Hospital on 19 May 2023 where despite treatment, she died the same day of Sepsis with congestive cardiac failure. In this report the Coroner notes concerns about the her case and the capacity of the District Nursing Team providing here care.
  15. Content Article
    When a family loses a loved one in unclear or unexplained circumstances, there is one thing that family members need above all else: answers. How did their loved one die, and could their death have been prevented? The Coroner Service is there to answer these questions. But in his annual report published in December, the chief coroner Judge Thomas Teague revealed the extensive delays now occurring in the coroners’ courts. In April 2021 more than 5,000 families waited over a year for the coroner to complete their investigations. This was a staggering increase on pre-pandemic figures, with 2,278 cases having lasted more than 12 months in 2019. And while figures from April 2022 suggest the backlog is gradually reducing (with 4,568 cases taking more than 12 months), it is clear that far too many families are still facing agonising delays, sometimes lasting several years.
  16. News Article
    A coroner overseeing a teenager's inquest has warned there will be more deaths unless mental health services improve for autistic people at risk of self-harm. Morgan-Rose Hart, 18, who had ADHD, autism and a history of mental illness had been a patient at a unit in Harlow, Essex, for three weeks. An inquest jury concluded she died by misadventure contributed to by neglect. Ms Hart, from Chelmsford, died in hospital six days after she was found unresponsive in the bathroom of her mental health accommodation in the Derwent Centre in Harlow, Essex in July 2022. The inquest into her death heard staff observations were falsified and critical observations were missed. In her Prevention of Future Deaths report, Ms Hayes said: "There is a significant shortfall of appropriate placements for people with autism who have mental health and self-harm risks in Essex both inpatient and in the community." She added: "During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. "In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken." Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 January 2024
  17. Content Article
    Morgan-Rose Hart died after she was found unresponsive while being detained under section 3 of the Mental Health Act at the Derwent Centre at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex. Morgan-Rose was last clinically observed at 14.06 on 6 July 2022 and in between the last observation and when Morgan-Rose was discovered the Coroner notes that multiple failings in her care took place, including consecutive hours observations being incorrect and falsified.
  18. Content Article
    Andrew Guillaume was admitted to Warwick Hospital on the 6 June 2023. Following a review, it was agreed that the likely diagnosis was severe aortic stenosis requiring an urgent Consultant to Consultant referral to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) cardiology team. However, no referral was made as the Consultant was unable to get through to the switchboard at UHCW, so Mr Guillaume remained at Warwick Hospital. Subsequently his condition worsened and on the 16 June 2023 a plan was made to update the cardiothoracic surgery team at UHCW to expedite his surgery, but again they were unable to reach the team through the switchboard. Mr Guillaume was admitted to the unit on 19 June 2023, but sadly died on 20 June 2023 due to a further sudden deterioration in his condition.
  19. Content Article
    On 11 January 2021 an investigation into the death of Susan Ann Gladstone was started. The investigation concluded at the end of the inquest on 20 November 2023. The conclusion of the inquest was Susan died as a result of a generally unknown interaction between warfarin and tramadol which caused exceptional thinning of her blood: 1a Intraparenchymal and subarachnoid haemorrhage.
  20. Content Article
    Mr Malone was diagnosed with treatment resistant schizophrenia in 1983 and had been sectioned multiple times. In May 2023 he was diagnosed with adult autism. At a review on 31 May he was considered to be stable. On 15 June a routine clozapine review identified sub-therapeutic levels but this was not notified to his clinicians. Sub-therapeutic levels of clozapine are likely to have contributed to a worsening in his symptoms. Around 24 June he was noted to have suffered a significant deterioration – with symptoms of thought disorder, anxiety, and responding to hallucinations – and following a mental health act assessment on 28 June clinicians wanted to detain him under section 2. No inpatient psychiatric bed was available. Whilst he awaited a bed, he remained in the community with daily visits from the mental health team. Last contact was on 1 July when he accepted his medication and appeared more settled. There was no answer when he was visited on 2 July. His room at supported accommodation was entered on 3 July and he was found deceased. Recently he had expressed no suicidal ideation. Post-mortem examination confirmed the medical cause of death was:  1a Cervical spinal cord injury. 1b Laceration. The conclusion of the inquest was that death was the consequence of suicide.
  21. Content Article
    Peter had a long history of depression, anxiety, and reported suicide attempts. He had acknowledged his reluctance to always engage fully with the treatment offered. On 3 August 2022 he was referred to the home treatment team for crisis intervention. After poor engagement he was transferred back to the community mental health team. On the 14 October he was detained by police under section 136 mental health act after expressing suicidal ideation. He told a psychiatric liaison service nurse he had no ongoing suicidal ideation and was referred to the community mental health team and his GP. He then contacted services further a number of times. On 10 November 2022 Peter was found deceased in his flat having taken a deliberate overdose of his prescribed medication. At the time of his death he was on the waiting list to be allocated a mental health care co-ordinator and there had been no multi-disciplinary meeting with all teams involved to agree how best to work with Peter. His cause of death was confirmed at post-mortem: 1a Carbamazepine toxicity. The conclusion reached was death was a consequence of suicide.
  22. News Article
    Ministers must intervene over systemic failures which are “too big for hospital or ambulance trusts to fix on their own” and have led to multiple preventable deaths, a senior coroner has warned. In a move usually considered rare for such an official, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly coroner Andrew Cox has written to the Department of Health and Social Care a second time over ongoing delays to ambulance responses and long ambulance handovers in the area. Last year he warned the NHS was “broken” after he ruled ambulance and emergency care delays contributed to the deaths of four people. Now, he has sent a similar report on the same types of failings in the deaths of John Seagrove, Pauline Humphris, and Patricia Steggles at Royal Cornwall Hospital to new health secretary Victoria Atkins. Mr Cox wrote: “I set out in my [prevention of future death report] last year my understanding of the reasons for the difficulties that are continuing in the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly coroner area. I do not believe those reasons will have changed significantly. ”The challenges are systemic in nature. They are too big for a single doctor, nurse or paramedic to fix. They are too big for either the hospital trust or the ambulance trust to fix on their own.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 1 December 2023
  23. News Article
    Three patients died after delayed transfers from a private hospital within a nine-month period, coroner’s findings reveal. Three prevention of future deaths reports reviewed by HSJ raised concerns about the deaths of patients whose transfer from Spire’s Norwich facility to the NHS hospital in the same city was delayed. The sites, which are one mile apart, are run by £1bn-turnover private company Spire Healthcare and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust respectively. Read full story Source: HSJ, 15 November 2023 Prevention of Future Deaths reports: Geoffrey Hoad (13 September 2023) Prevention of Future Deaths report: Christina Ruse (3 October 2022) Prevention of Future Deaths report: Barbara Hollis (3 October 2022)
  24. Content Article
    Christina Ruse was admitted to the Spire Hospital on 14 December 2021 and underwent a total left hip replacement. Her condition deteriorated and observations were commenced at five minute intervals. Mrs Ruse was reviewed and on further deterioration in her condition it was decided to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. On arrival of the ambulance Mrs Ruse was undergoing a further investigatory procedure. On this being completed Mrs Ruse was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died on 15 December 2021.
  25. Content Article
    Barbara Hollis underwent a total left knee replacement operation on 22 February 2022. The surgery was uneventful with no complications, however after her return to the ward Mrs Hollis became restless and confused. Following a review of her deteriorating condition the decision was made to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Arrangements were made for the transfer and the ambulance service was called at 19.51 and were told that immediate clinical intervention was needed, but the agreed hospital to hospital transfer pathway was not followed. There was a two hour delay in ambulance attendance, during which time Mrs Hollis continued to deteriorate. Mrs Hollis was subsequently taken to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died in the early hours of the 23 February 2022.
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