Dr Nigel Kennea, Consultant Neonatologist, has been appointed Lead Medical Examiner at St George’s.

We spoke to Nigel about his new role and why it’s important for our patients and staff.

The Medical Examiner (ME) system is being introduced in acute Trusts, and across the NHS. It aims to improve processes for the bereaved, including helping them to:

  • Understand the cause of death and identify any concerns
  • Review all non-Coronial deaths and escalate quality concerns to Trust governance processes
  • Support and liaise with the certifying doctor when writing the medical certificate of cause of death
  • Work with the Coroner and Registrars, ensuring appropriate cases are subject to Coroners’ investigation.

Nigel said: “A key aspect of the role is to support families and scrutinise clinical information on death certificates. MEs will also work with clinical teams to help improve the process around death certification, support care groups and junior doctors in this work and build relationships with the Registrars and Coroners to improve information and communication.

“By reviewing cases and better supporting and communicating with bereaved families and clinical teams we have the opportunity to identify issues of care and aid the Trust in constantly improving. MEs are independent of the Trust, reporting to the Regional and National MEs.”

Deaths will have scrutiny by a Medical Examiner; something Nigel feels will benefit families and the clinical teams: “Having MEs reviewing the notes and agreeing death certificates with the doctors who cared for the patient is a positive step. We will also be there to sign post families to any additional support if they need it.”

The Medical Examiners’ Office has been set up next to the Bereavement Office (ground floor, Grosvenor wing) to allow easy access and good communication between families, clinicians and the Bereavement team. The appointment of further MEs is underway enabling the service to commence in the very near future.

This is a new service and the MEs will be working with service leads and Divisions to create an agile system that works for all.