Hospital deaths in Britain to be examined by second doctor

London, March 9 (IANS) All deaths in Britain’s hospitals will be examined by a second doctor unconnected to the patient’s treatment, the media reported on Wednesday.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told The Guardian he will announce the change — to take effect in England in 2018 — in a speech on Thursday to a global summit on patient safety in London.

From 2018, doctors acting as expert medical examiners will review and confirm the cause of all the deaths a year that occur in hospital.

They will provide “a second look” at events preceding the death, although doctors involved in looking after the patient who has died will continue to be the ones who certify the death and list the cause or causes of death on the death certificate.

The change was first recommended in 2005.

Opposition Labour party welcomed the move but slammed Hunt of taking too long to make it, especially with it not starting until 2018.

The Royal College of Physicians, which represents general hospital doctors in England, said having an expert medical examiner involved in every death would help “provide patients and their families with the openness and transparency which they deserve when things go wrong, and to support healthcare professionals to learn from and correct any deficiencies in care which are found. We will only improve if we move from a culture of blame to a culture of learning.”

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