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Coroners’ concerns to prevent harms: a series of coroners’ case reports to serve patient safety and educate the public, clinicians and policy-makers
  1. Georgia C. Richards1,
  2. Jeffrey K. Aronson1,2,
  3. Carl Heneghan1
  1. 1Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Georgia C Richards, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK; georgia.richards{at}kellogg.ox.ac.uk

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Understanding the causes of deaths and how they can be prevented is critical for improving healthcare outcomes. At a population level, over-reporting or under-reporting of deaths can have a profound impact on policy decisions, which in turn affect global economies and the day-to-day lives of citizens. At the individual level, understanding how and why deaths occur may prevent similar deaths or serious harms from occurring in the future. One in 20 people are exposed to preventable harms in medical settings globally, and 12% of preventable harms result in disability or death.1

Coroners’ reports hold a wealth of information on the circumstances of individual deaths. In England and Wales, the law requires coroners to report and communicate a death when the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent deaths.2 These reports, named Prevent Future Deaths (PFDs), are mandated under paragraph 7 of schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and regulations 28 and 29 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.3 4 Under these regulations, individuals or organisations that receive a PFD report are required under statue to respond to the coroner within 56 days of receiving the report, to outline actions proposed or taken to address the coroner’s concerns. The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website hosts the PFD reports and responses to the reports.5

As these reports contain valuable lessons, concerns have been raised regarding …

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