Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nationwide disparities of deaths reported to coroners, British study suggests

Date:
November 1, 2013
Source:
University of Huddersfield
Summary:
A leading detective turned university researcher has discovered huge nationwide disparities in the numbers of deaths reported to coroners in the United Kingdom. It could mean that in some areas, inquests into unnatural deathsare not being conducted when they might have been deemed necessary elsewhere.Also, it has emerged that deaths of women are less likely to be reported and go to inquest - and when they do, they are less likely to result in a verdict of unnatural death.

A leading detective turned university researcher has discovered huge nationwide disparities in the numbers of deaths reported to coroners. It could mean that in some areas, inquests into unnaturaldeaths are not being conducted when they might have been deemed necessary elsewhere. Also, it has emerged that deaths of women are less likely to be reported and go to inquest. And when they do, they are less likely to result in a verdict of unnatural death.

Findings from the exhaustive research project have led former Detective Chief Superintendant Max Mclean, the ex-Head of West Yorkshire CID, to brand the 800-year-old coroners' system in England and Wales a "postcode lottery." He calls for a national Coroners' Service with the power to iron out inconsistencies.

Now retired from the force, Mr Mclean is undertaking a PhD at the University of Huddersfield.

Mr Mclean's findings have been published in an article, co-authored with the University of Huddersfield's Dr Jason Roach and Dr Rachel Armitage, that appears in the Journal of Clinic Pathology. The massive exercise in data collection and statistical analysis was designed and conducted by Mr Mclean. "It was significant data crunching!" he said.

By working out how many deaths had taken place in coroners' areas of jurisdiction and how many had been reported to the coroner, Mr Mclean was able to work out the reporting rates for each district.

"We found that between the years 2001 and 2010, the reporting rates in the 114 jurisdictions ranged from 12 per cent to 87 per cent and were consistent over time. My work has demonstrated that this variation is a product of the coroner's working practice," said Mr Mclean.

He argues that because coroners remain in office for long periods and have a large amount of autonomy, their attitudes and working practices are likely to become entrenched and have a powerful influence in their jurisdiction.

He found that there was a mean reporting rate of just under half of all deaths.

"That feels right and the mean figure of 45 per cent has been reasonably consistent for a number of years," he added.

Mr Mclean intends to conduct further research into the gender disparity. In the meantime, he comments: "The extreme hypothesis is that women's deaths are not considered as important to society as those of men. And that the traditional short form verdicts available to the coroner's inquests serve the needs of men more than women -- in cases of industrial disease, for example."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Huddersfield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Mclean, J. Roach, R. Armitage. Local variations in reporting deaths to the coroner in England and Wales: a postcode lottery? Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2013; 66 (11): 933 DOI: 10.1136/jclinpath-2013-201640

Cite This Page:

University of Huddersfield. "Nationwide disparities of deaths reported to coroners, British study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091737.htm>.
University of Huddersfield. (2013, November 1). Nationwide disparities of deaths reported to coroners, British study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091737.htm
University of Huddersfield. "Nationwide disparities of deaths reported to coroners, British study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091737.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins