Inquests can pose significant risks to health and social care providers. Any conclusions of neglect
can cause serious harm to reputation, especially when the print and broadcast media take an interest.
Information that emerges during an inquest may also be used to support a civil claim against the business too.
Changes in the law that came into force in 2013 exacerbate the risks. Coroners now have a duty to send
reports to people they think may be able to prevent deaths arising from similar circumstances in the future
(and those bodies must then send a response). Those people might well include bodies with which care
providers need to maintain good relationships to maintain profitability such as regulators and commissioners.
Other changes in the law give persons who are granted interested person status new rights including
the right for disclosure of material evidence in advance of the inquest. Typically, however, Coroners will not
volunteer the evidence until they are asked to provide the information.
The impact on providers is compounded by Staff and Managers who may face significant stress in the
run-up to the inquest, a period that is usually several months, and often longer.