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Scotland: Temporary Changes to the Death Certification Review Service

The Death Certification Review Service (DCRS), run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, checks on the accuracy of a sample of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs); also referred to as Form 11.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on clinical services, the review of randomised MCCD and Interested Person Reviews, were temporarily suspended by Scottish Ministers on 26 March. The service was reinstated on a reduced basis on the 11 May and resumed business as usual on 31 August.

However, COVID-19 infections have been rising for some time and clinical services are reporting an increase in COVID-19 related workload. The current pressure on the NHS is unlikely to ease in coming weeks and may well increase during the winter months ahead.

Therefore, from 09:00 today (24 November) some changes will come into effect.

There will be no change to the number of reviews to be undertaken, but rather to the type of reviews. All reviews will be undertaken as ‘hybrid’ Level 1 reviews, enabling a reduction in the administrative burden to both Health Boards and certifying doctors. Central to this form of review is the ability of the medical reviewer to scrutinise the electronic Key Information Summaries (eKIS) for all cases. Detailed Level 2 reviews, which could be more resource intensive for hospital administrative staff, will be limited to those which need escalation from Level 1 reviews and for Interested Person Reviews.

This position will be reviewed every two weeks.

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