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Coroner defends role at hospital.

A CORONER insisted he had done his job despite being criticised in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Giving evidence to the public inquiry into the scandal, South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said he was unaware of systemic failures in care which could have caused up to 400 deaths between 2005 and 2009.

Answering citicism that he failed to co-operate with the Healthcare Commission's damning report in 2009, Mr Haigh said: "I would have assisted if I practically could have, but I felt it was practically not possible."

He told the inquiry a request from the Commission for the number of inquests into hospital deaths would have involved trawling through more than 8,000 files to cover a three-year period.

"I thought they were a little unprofessional," he said. "They approached me seeking to criticise me which I didn't think was right."

Mr Haigh, who dealt with hundreds of cases from the hospital, said he did not spot a pattern of failings as he dealt with each case on an individual basis.

And he said he carried out his duties as coroner by sending Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust letters under Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules when he thought matters needed to be addressed. "I was still carrying out my role within the legislation so essentially I was still doing my job," he said.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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