Grieving Families 'In Limbo' Pending Investigation In To Doctor
Lawyer urges affected families to respond to consultation on Legal Aid access at Inquests
Medical law experts have voiced concerns about the support available to grieving families left ‘in limbo’ amidst news that a string of inquests have been put on pending an investigation into the post mortems carried out by a senior doctor.
Concerns were raised about Dr Khalid Ahmed’s work around 18 months ago by north Manchester coroner Joanne Kearsley which resulted in a review of a sample of his post mortems and findings that the reports were ‘inadequate’, and that most of them had given an ‘incorrect’ cause of death.
Ian Cohen, Partner and head of clinical negligence and personal injury at Simpson Millar Solicitors, said: “Inquests are, for many families, an important part of the grieving process. It provides answers as to what happened to a loved one; insight into whether more could have been done to prevent their death; and perhaps most importantly, what lessons could be learnt to prevent future suffering.
“It is therefore extremely worrying to learn that a significant number of inquests in Manchester have been put on hold due to concerns about the accuracy of the information, and in some cases even the actual cause of death, provided by the doctor carrying out the post mortems.
“Whilst we welcome the investigation that is now underway to fully understand the extent of this issue, it is of little comfort to the families affected who remain in limbo - unsure of the facts or what the next steps will be, and unable to even lay their loved ones to rest.”
Cohen went on to say that such serious failings which have led to delays in inquests taking place demonstrated the need for families to have access to legal support during the process.
“In just a matter of days a Government consultation which aims to establish whether changes need to be made to the current availability of legal aid to ensure bereaved families can fully understand and take part in inquests, will close. One of the key things it will consider is whether the process needs to be made more sympathetic to the needs of the bereaved,” he added.
“If ever there has been a case that demonstrates why the answer is absolutely yes, this is it.
“We would urge anyone affected by this case to respond to the consultation and have their voices heard!”
As part of the consultation the Government is keen to hear from all who have been affected by the inquest process: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/review-of-legal-aid-for-inquests/
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