Today the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation on the coronial investigations of stillbirths. The Press Release states:
“We are…very pleased to publish this consultation, which seeks views on proposals for introducing coronial investigations of stillbirth cases in England and Wales. This consultation has been prepared jointly by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care and is an important step towards delivering the Government’s commitment to reduce the rate of stillbirths.
In addition to introducing greater transparency to the way in which stillbirths are investigated, the Government’s proposals would ensure that bereaved parents are involved at all stages of the investigation, and that any learning that can be taken from such investigations is disseminated across the health system to help prevent future avoidable stillbirths.
At the same time as the Government has been developing its proposals, a Private Member’s Bill, Tim Loughton MP’s Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc) Bill, has made its way through Parliament. The Bill is now subject to its Royal Assent and will place a duty on the Secretary of State to make arrangements for the preparation and publication of a report on whether, and if so how, coroners should investigate stillbirths.
The Bill also provides a power for the Lord Chancellor to make provision, through secondary legislation, for stillbirth investigations by coroners if, following publication of that report, this is considered appropriate”.
The Consultation, which comprises an on-line survey, closes on 18 June 2019 and feedback is expected by 10 September 2019. Relevant documents are:
- Coronial investigations of stillbirth – consultation document 1.8 MB (PDF document)
- Coronial investigations of stillbirth – Impact Assessment 807.7 KB (PDF document)
- Welsh: Coronial investigations of stillbirth – consultation document 1.6 MB (PDF document)
We summarized Tim Loughton MP’s Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc) Bill here.
To which the obvious response is, ‘fine – but it’s bound to increase the workload of the Coroner Service, so will extra resources be made available in recognition of that?’
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