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Trust Chief Executive fined after Isle of Wight NHS death report failures

A Coroner has issued a £500 fine to the Chief Executive of Isle of Wight NHS Trust after she ascertained that 20 Serious Incident investigations were not reported to her by the Trust before the bodies were cremated.

The Coroner advised that she had signed off the death of an elderly patient before being advised that an investigation was underway involving the patient’s discharge from hospital and her underlying mental health condition.  In another case the Coroner expressed grave concerns that she had closed an inquest before being advised that there was an investigation under way into a drug-related death.

The Coroner also expressed concerns that a SI report had been written by an inexperienced member of staff with a lack of medical expertise and halted the inquest so that the Chief Executive could attend. In another inquest the SI report was described as being incorrect and containing inadequate information.

The Isle of Wight Coroner criticised the reports for being late and not being sufficiently robust.

The Trust has provided a sincere apology.

The fines were issued under Schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which conveys powers on a Coroner to fine a Trust where there has been intentional suppression or concealment of a document that is believed to be relevant.

This serves as a reminder to Trusts of the duty they have to disclose all relevant information and documentation to the Coroner and to ensure that early consideration is given to informing Coroners of the status of their own internal investigation and enquiries.

If you need advice or support regarding inquests and SI investigations then please do not hesitate to contact Nicola Richardson.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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