Today, the East of England coroners agreed a uniform position to apply to our region that supersedes any previous guidance published on the subject.
Please therefore only refer to the following guidance:
There is no doubt that a Doctor is not required to verify death, and there is clear national guidance to that effect.
The concept of “life extinct” ie the fact, can be declared by a doctor, a police forensic medical examiner, or suitably qualified clinicians e.g. paramedics, specially trained nurses.
The Coroner informs us that across the region multi-agency response teams are being assembled to assist with this from across Police, Ambulance and NHS organisations.
However for now, please assume that other individuals e.g. a funeral director, a care home nurse or a next of kin are NOT able to verify that a death has occurred, and so you should continue to attend the deceased in hours, utilising your PPE where appropriate.
We are aware of differing guidance from Coroners across the country, but this is now the unequivocal position for the East of England, that we need to follow.
Their statement and the RCPath algorithm are attached to this email below:
RCP Flowchart for MCCD