Medical Reports for Coroners
BMA Advice: Non payment of reports for coroners
Doctors have raised concerns with the BMA about not being paid for coroner reports or statements of fact which they are obliged to provide. Under the current system the coroner pays then reclaims funds from the Local Authority.
Prior to 2008 the BMA held a national fee agreement with the Local Government Employers (LGE) for this work. When the national agreement ended in March 2008 the LGE circulated guidance stating "payment of fees to doctors would be for local determination".
Whilst we understood this to mean fees would be negotiated locally between the doctor, Coroner and Local Authority, the guidance has been interpreted by Local Authorities to mean they were now able to determine whether or not to continue funding payment for this work.
Although we have sought legal advice, there is nothing within the Coroners Act that clearly stipulates payments for reports or statements of fact. We therefore have no grounds to force the Local Authority or Coroner to pay the fee.We have also rigorously pursued this issue directly with the Chief Coroner, the Ministry of Justice and the Local Government Association, but with little success.
Where payment is not being offered, the BMA would advise doctors to complete the report otherwise they may face being summonsed.