Dr Jean MacLeod has been appointed as Medical Examiner for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to continue to ‘learn from deaths’.
Employed by the Trust since 1999, she explains more about the new role and the significance of her appointment ‘our hospitals have been dedicated to learning from deaths for a long time. It can be an uncomfortable subject for many people, but we want to understand how we can make it better for the next person’.
The Trust have set up a dedicated team inclusive of Dr Katie Elmer, Dr Julie Barnsley and Public Health Consultant, Dr Peter Acheson to build on the solid foundations of work to date. Dr MacLeod continues ‘our bereavement colleagues and those who specialise in this area are such a fantastic reflection of the ambitions of our organisation. Throughout the current pandemic they have been praised by our partner agencies within our Local Resilience Forum for their support and work. Of course this function or role is fulfilling a legal obligation for the Trust, but for us it’s so much more than that. This is an opportunity for families and carers to ask questions about their loved ones’ death, to understand more’
‘For our team, and those we work with as partners in health care, such as South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust, this is a really collaborative model. Working together as two organisations offers a new and unique way of how this will work for the people of the Tees Valley. It reflects how we are aiming to embed a culture of learning from deaths, and how to continuously improve how we deliver. Additionally, I work with NHS England / Improvement as the clinical lead for the intensive support team. We are able to then share our learning across a much wider system, benefiting a much wider audience’.
Deepak Dwarkanarth, Medical Director for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust added ‘this appointment, and the establishment of the team is a really important milestone not only for the Trust, but for the populations of the Tees Valley. As a region we continue to innovate in health care, often against a challenging backdrop – certainly through the current pandemic, but the tenacity of our teams and their desire to forge ahead for the benefit of our patients is unwavering’.
The team hope to recruit for Medical Examiner Officers from a clinical background in the very near future.