Report raises concern over errors on death certificates

Concerns have been raised by health chiefs that conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome are being recorded as causes of death.

A report by the NHS Learning Disability Mortality Review programme (LeDeR) raised concerns that the conditions, which cannot be direct causes of death, had been listed on death certificates of people in Essex by medics.

The findings, included in a West Essex CCG report, also found a small number of decisions to not resuscitate had “learning disability”, “wheelchair user” or “Down’s syndrome” given as the reason.

But the report continues to say these were “turned around” by learning disability liaison nurses, who then raised safeguards.

A section read: “There is still much confusion around how a DNAR fits with advanced care planning.

“The majority are made when the person is in hospital very close to death.”

West Essex CCG did not respond to comment when approached.

The conditions were found listed on part 1a of the death certificates, according ot the report.

This is the part of a death certificate which should document the disease or condition that led directly to the death.

LeDeR has recommended the way deaths are recorded for people with cerebral palsy, and Down’s syndrome be reviewed.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter