Sometimes an inquest will be held following the death of a service user in a health and social care setting.
The purpose of an inquest is to establish facts. It is not to apportion blame and the conclusion should not use language that suggests civil or criminal liability. However, there are conclusions and language used that may have a negative impact on the Trust, including findings of neglect.
Deaths and inquests can prompt action from the police and the regulator and can be used to support a civil claim or criminal action.
Providers can participate in proceedings and often it is beneficial to do so as it allows a provider to access documentation they would not otherwise be entitled to; ask witnesses questions; make submissions on the scope of the inquest and possible conclusions (if legally represented); and minimise the possibility of a Prevention of Future Deaths report (PFD Report) being issued. This is a report that Coroners have a duty to issue at the end of an inquest if they believe steps could be taken by parties to prevent deaths arising from similar circumstances in the future. If a PFD Report is issued to you, a response must be provided. The PFD Report and responses are usually published.
Inquests can also attract media attention.
If managed properly then the risk of damage to the Trust from negative findings can be minimised.
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