INQUEST BACKLOG GROWS WITH GRIEVING FAMILIES NOW WAITING 67 WEEKS ON AVERAGE

New figures have revealed that Isle of Wight families are now, on average, waiting a staggering 67 weeks for closure after the loss of a loved one due to an ever-growing backlog of inquests.

At the end of 2022, there were 264 open inquests of which 98 related to deaths that occurred over 12 months ago. But new figures from the Government show that things became even worse in 2023, with 311 inquests still open as of 31st December, of which 124 had been open for more than 12 months.

It means the backlog has almost trebled in just 4 years, from 107 open inquests in December 2019. The average time for an inquest to be concluded has risen from 40 weeks in 2020, to 63 weeks in 2022 and now 67 weeks in 2023.

Article continues below this advertisement

The newly released data show that there were a total of 774 deaths on the Island last year, 27 more than in 2022. An inquest was opened in almost a quarter of deaths with 174 inquest openings held by Caroline Sumeray, Senior Coroner for the Isle of Wight, in 2023. Of those 774 deaths, 13 occurred in the prison, 1 whilst detained under the Mental Health Act and 3 outside of England.

Just 158 inquests were concluded by Mrs Sumeray last year, meaning an instant deficit of 16 without taking into account the lengthy backlog of outstanding inquests.

Island Echo currently has a list of more than 50 names of deaths that are expected to go to inquest, the oldest of which dates back to July 2021. It’s noted that in the first 4-and-a-half months of 2024, not a single full inquest has been listed to be heard. Shockingly, it’s thought a full inquest hasn’t been heard since October last year. However, a number of Section 9C ‘in writing’ hearings have taken place across March, April and May.

It is hoped that the backlog can be reduced with the introduction of a dedicated Coroners Court at Seaclose in Newport, as previously reported by Island Echo. Nearly £90,000 has been set aside to transform the first floor of the offices at Seaclose into a dedicated court by September. This will provide a large courtroom, jury retiring room, conference rooms and modern office space.

It is also known that the Isle of Wight Council – which funds the Coroner Service – is currently looking to employ 2 coroner officers, at a total cost of around £55,000.

Article continues below this advertisement

In 2022, HM Senior Coroner Caroline Sumeray said she was hoping to have an Assistant Coroner appointed to enable 2 courts to be run. However, 2 years later, there is no sign of an assistant…

Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dr Gates
Dr Gates
2 months ago

I wonder how many of these deaths are from Vaccine injuries.
Since 2021 there have been so many sudden and excess deaths

Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
Reply to  Dr Gates
2 months ago

Your are completely wrong and have been misinformed. There have actually been many sudden cardiac events among those who experienced COVID-19 and a lot have been fatal. Far fewer sudden cardiac events have occurred in those who received vaccines. The effects of COVID-19 are now becoming clear, with millions suffering from long COVID and others with cardiac issues, as well as other problems. Vaccines saved the lives of millions and also ensured that millions of others did not suffer the lasting debilitating effects of COVID.

Merp
Merp
Reply to  Gary Cooper
2 months ago

He said I wonder. Did you miss that?

ISlander
ISlander
Reply to  Gary Cooper
2 months ago

I can confirm this. I know of two antivaxers on the Island who suffered very bad bouts of Covid.

Both now have heart conditions and one is in end stage heart failure.

Dr Gates
Dr Gates
Reply to  Gary Cooper
2 months ago

No one likes to hear the truth, obviously jabbed
Good luck with that
Amen

Annonymous
Annonymous
2 months ago

Island Echo has the list of 50 expected to go to inquest, yet families don’t even know if their loved one is on that list.

Claire
Claire
2 months ago

I had to wait 2 hrs for mums inquest and had to do a section 9c, which is a 58 page document with all the details and evidence, I was medically trained but to those who are not it is an awful this to receive and have to wait so long for.

P M
P M
2 months ago

Total disgrace. If this was a business, the directors would have been sacked years ago.

je7979126@gmail.com
2 months ago

Can we not “borrow “ a coroner from the mainland to shift the backlog, advertise properly for additional staff ( from the 1,000s of unemployed out there) or employ someone who works faster, it’s not exactly rocket science.

Freddie
Freddie
2 months ago

Down to Council trying to cheap skate again, Government process ,red tape and burocracy etc.

greenfiremouse
greenfiremouse
2 months ago

The question is as to who or what is preventing the appointment of an Assistant Coroner for such a long time and with such a huge backlog. Before any person or institution is blamed, let’s have the full facts first, please.

Nothing but the truth
Nothing but the truth
Reply to  greenfiremouse
2 months ago

Given that they appear to be offering a little over £20,000 pa for an assistant, that probably explains a lot.

Sydney street
Sydney street
2 months ago

Should not the island Echo and IWCP look at why the staff have gone again. As if you look this job seems to be advertised a lot. Maybe ask families to comment on what excuse they have been given. Cases that are over a year old and in cases over 2 then surely it’s the coroner. Coroner decides when a case is ready not staff.

 

Join our daily newsletter