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GPs to report fewer deaths to the coroner under legislation change

GPs will no longer have to automatically report to the coroner deaths of someone under a deprivation of liberty safeguard (DoLS) under an amendment currently going through the House of Lords.

The amendment to the ‘Policing and Crime‘ bill includes a section which changes the definition of ‘state detention’ so it doesn’t include being ‘deprived of liberty’ – those people who are in a care home or hospital under continuous or complete supervision and control and are not free to leave.

GPs have to automatically report the death of anyone under ‘state detention’ to the coroner. But the change to the legal definition means that GPs will no longer have to automatically report the deaths of anyone under a DoLS.

However, GPs will still have to report deaths of these patients to the coroner if they die in any other relevant circumstance such as a fall.

This comes as the death certification process is set to be reformed, with the introduction of medical examiners from 2018 to certify all death certificates.