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Simple and powerful: a consultant and governance-led bereavement service
  1. Caris E Grimes,
  2. Belinda Stringer and
  3. Linda Roberts-Jones
  1. Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Gillingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Caris E Grimes, General Surgery, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Gillingham ME7 5NY, UK; caris.grimes{at}


Background Following bereavement, families can be left with unanswered questions or issues of concern. We piloted a bereavement service model which was consultant and governance-led with the aim to reduce complaints, reduce litigation, reduce coroners' inquests and support families.

Methods Following the death of a patient, the next of kin was sent an invitation. Those that responded were offered a 1-hour appointment with a consultant, senior sister and a member of the governance team. Notes were taken to track themes and feedback sheets were introduced to gauge the usefulness of the service to families.

Results Of 121 invitations sent out, 18 families (14.8%) used the service. Two families had already sought legal advice. Neither acted further. 44% said they would have made a complaint if the service had not been available. 78% stated that they had obtained closure.

Conclusion A bereavement service model which is consultant and governance led may reduce complaints and reduce litigation.

  • bereavement
  • death
  • litigation
  • complaints

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  • Presented at The study was presented as a poster at the Confed conference in 2018, shortlisted for the HSJ Awards under Quality Improvement Initiative of the Year 2018 and nominated for the NHS70 Awards.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Apostrophes showing possession where originally omitted from the article.

  • Contributors CG, BS and LR-J conceived the idea for the service. All authors assisted with data collection. CG analysed the data. All authors contributed to the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.