Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link
Promoting awareness of medicines that can harm mental health

Coroners and Inquests

Talk by Coroner Nigel Meadows at our conference

A useful guide produced by the charity Inquest   

The useful guide produced by the charity Inquest may not have details about obtaining medical records.

What information can you give a Coroner?

If you are concerned about the adverse effects of drugs prescribed, you should obtain as much data about the possible adverse reactions, which may be dose related, and details of any other deaths linked to the medicines in question.

The medicines regulator MHRA keep some records of reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) by health professionals and patients, using the Yellow Card System. The data is stored and can be accessed via the Interactive Drug Analysis Profiles (iDAPs) on a web site.

Notes on using the iDAPs data will be added to our web site which is still in progress and not yet completed.

You can gather evidence from scientific papers or case reports in such publications as the British Medical Journal (BMJ) or The Lancet or the British Pharmacological Society journals or from the British Library Medical Department. Write to the coroner. Ask for a meeting.

Can I get the medical records? yes

Can I call the coroner? yes and make an appointment to see the coroner.

Can I find a medical expert? yes, but not an easy task to find one with the right knowledge of medicines adverse reactions.

The Medical protection advice to doctors is " However, questions from family members can be hostile and interested persons have the right to representation. Your trust may arrange legal representation to protect the trusts’ interests"

So it is worthwhile the family who believe misprescribing, or inapproptriate prescribing or failure to recognise a person was not tolerating treatment, should try to obtain legal advice. Obtaining the medical records from the GP and the hospital is important.

The GMC publication Good Medical Practice has been modified and updated (the latest version came into effect on 22 April 2013) and there is now an obligation (set out at paragraph 75[a]) for a doctor to inform the GMC (without delay) in circumstances when they have been criticised by an official inquiry (which would include a coroner’s inquest).

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