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CAMHS won't see you now

Deaths registrar had crucial Shipman role

Dr Raj Patel says the Shipman murders shattered his confidence (September 8). He is not alone, for the confidence of all doctors should have been shaken by the ease with which regulatory bodies had been fooled for many years by Shipman's certificates.

All Shipman's victims' deaths were recorded by the local Registrar of Births & Deaths. But did the registrar ever query why Dr Shipman seemed to have so many deaths in his practice, particularly of people living and dying at home, and in many cases (if not all) dying within a relatively short time after being attended by their doctor?

Unless it is, or was, the duty of the registrar merely to record deaths, it would seem that there was a fundamental lack of critical examination of the information being recorded. I rather imagine that a not dissimilar criticism can be levelled at the crematorium referee.

Dr Owen Lister


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