Current Affairs

New charge could impact bereaved families

A proposed new charge which will cover the costs of fees paid to medical examiners is to be passed on to bereaved families at a cost of £130, under new rules.

The charge, which will affect more than 100,000 burials each year will be put in place to reduce the mistakes made by doctors and to help identify mistreatment only when a coroner has not been consulted. This follows a statistics from the ONS last year that suggests one in five death certificates is incorrect.

There have been months of delays surrounding the issue, with local authorities and funeral directors refusing to collect from families still mourning the loss of their loved ones.

The Department of Health, which has asserted that tax payers should not bear the costs of such a service, said: “This is not only important for families, but will help local areas identify trends and introduce services where needed. Critically, it will also help with the early detection of poor-quality care.”

The implementation is due for October of next year following a consultation, however with Labour accusing ministers of putting off the issue, the impact the delays could have are significant.

The British Medical Association’s forensic medicine committee said: “We are very concerned about the delays. There is a need for enough time for a good consultation and a process of information about what is happening.”

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