Recommendation 274

Openness in the disclosure of information to coroners

There is an urgent need for unequivocal guidance to be given to trusts and their legal advisers and those handling disclosure of information to coroners, patients and families, as to the priority to be given to openness over any perceived material interest.

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 states that, ‘it is an offence for a person to do anything that is intended to have the effect of (a) distorting or otherwise altering any evidence, document or other things that is given, produced or provided for the purpose of an investigation … (b) preventing any evidence, document or other thing from being given produced or provided for the purposes of such an investigation or to do anything that the person knows or believes is likely to have that effect.’

Intentionally suppressing, concealing, altering or destroying a relevant document, except under specific circumstances, is an offence that may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

No further update is required. Please see response to the recommendation above