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Review finds flawed processes at North East Ambulance Service

A review of North East Ambulance Service’s processes in its dealings with coroners following the deaths of people they have attended is expected to report in the next few weeks.

Posted on 15 February 2023

The independent investigation of how much information the NEAS has been giving to coroners was set up after whistleblowers claimed key documents had not been shared with coroners in a timely fashion or had even been altered.

Leigh Day head of clinical negligence Suzanne White has explained why NHS trusts sometimes fail in their full duty of candour towards families who might go on to make a clinical negligence claim against the trusts.

Whistleblowers claimed such issues dated back several years. The review that is expected to be published soon will consider whether the issues persist and will also look at the way people who raised concerns have been treated.

It has been reported that a report produced by auditors AuditOne found that, in spring 2020 "the coroner is not being made aware of concerns and / or investigations being carried out by the trust in a timely fashion".

Suzanne White said:

“I am looking forward to reading what Dame Marianne Griffiths will say in her review of NEAS’ dealings with coroners following the deaths of people their staff have attended.

“As I told BBC Newsnight in their special report into this matter, often NHS trusts are uncomfortable with disclosing every document that relates to an incident because they are nervous that information could be perceived as an admission of liability in the event of an eventual civil claim.”

Leigh Day solicitor Matthew Westlake, at the law firm’s office in Leeds, said:

“The situation that has come to light in the North East Ambulance Service is clearly of immense concern. We look forward to the publication of the review by Dame Marianne Griffiths and will carefully consider its contents with a view to helping anyone who feels they have a case to be answered by NEAS.”

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Suzanne White
Birth injury Brain injury Cerebral palsy Inquests

Suzanne White

Suzanne White is head of the medical negligence team and has specialised in this area of law since qualifying in 1999.

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Matthew Westlake
Birth injury Brain injury Cerebral palsy Surgical negligence

Matthew Westlake

Matthew Westlake is a senior associate solicitor in the medical negligence department.

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