The Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM) of the Royal College of Physicians has welcomed the statement by Lord O’Shaughnessy (Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State, Department of Health) on 18 October, in answer to a Parliamentary question, that the long-delayed Medical Examiner system will be introduced no later than April 2019. This is long awaited, since the Department of Health launched a consultation on a proposed new system of death certification in March 2016, which included an undertaking that the Government’s response would be published “shortly”.
The FFLM looks forward to working with other medical Royal Colleges, the Department of Health, the Chief Coroner and the Coroners Society of England and Wales in the considerable task of developing, implementing and providing the service. The specific role of the FFLM will focus on the training of potential Medical Examiners, and on the criteria for recruitment and appointment.
The FFLM has the twin aims of raising standards in forensic & legal medicine and protecting vulnerable patients in the justice system. Forensic & legal medicine embraces professionals working in the main forensic and legal medicine disciplines: general forensic, sexual offences and medicolegal medicine and medically-qualified coroners. http://fflm.ac.uk
The Faculty has opened membership to Medical Reviewers in Scotland; the Scottish system of oversight of death certification is already in place, and “was introduced in Scotland to address the long-recognised deficiencies in the system of death certification that Medical Examiners are intended to remedy in England and Wales”. The Faculty, in conjunction with the lead College, the Royal College of Pathologists, has actively campaigned for a similar system to be introduced in the rest of the UK.