HSC Trust Governance

Care provided after death:

Trust Governance Departments/Teams have various responsibilities after the death of a patient. They coordinate investigations and complaints around the circumstances of specific deaths and facilitate contact between the Coroners/Courts Service and Trusts when inquests/external investigations take place. In addition all in-patient deaths are reviewed at mortality/morbidity meetings by multi-disciplinary teams to inform safeguard practice and identify learning.  Responsibilities include:

  • Securing medical records
  • Obtaining statements from staff
  • Meeting with families following internal investigations and preparing reports for them
  • Arranging expert medical and legal advice for Trust if required
  • Supporting staff through an inquest/ investigation process
  • Acting as a communication link between Trust staff and other agencies, eg Coroners Service, State Pathologists Department, Directorate of Legal Services and the Police Service of NI
  • Informing Trust Medical Director and Corporate Communications Department of cases which may require a Trust response to the media
  • Appraising relevant Trust managers of Coroner’s/Court findings
  • Ensuring that learning identified during Coroner’s/Court  proceedings is disseminated to relevant service group governance and quality managers

Works alongside:

  • Health & Social Care Professionals
  • Coroners Service, Northern Ireland
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
  • Directorate of Legal Services
  • State Pathologist’s Department
  • Professional and staff side Organisations

The Standard of Bereavement Care is enhanced when:

  • Procedures are in place that ensure families have their questions/complaints regarding the death of a loved one addressed by the care team in a timely manner
  • Families are informed of the requirement to report certain deaths to the Coroner, and that he may request statements and order a post-mortem examination and possibly an inquest
  • PSNI, acting as Coroners Officers, approach sudden hospital death sensitively, communicating effectively  with healthcare professionals and families to explain and fulfil the requirements of their role
  • Effective and timely two way communication between Coroners service and Trusts takes place
  • Relevant Trust staff are aware of their responsibilities and provide detailed meaningful statements when required by Governance Department

Standards and Guidelines: