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 July 25, 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
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