HC Deb 07 November 1944 vol 404 cc1291-2W
Mr. Viant

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that no mention was made on the death certificate, relating to George Bass, of the R.A.P.C., who died On 21st November, 1943, of the fact that the cellulitis that caused his death started at the site of anti-typhoid inoculation, although this fact was stated in Orders of the man's unit after the second inquest was held and the coroner was informed of it; and what steps he proposes to take to secure greater accuracy of the Registrar-General's Returns by noting cases of this kind and inquiring why the fact that some form of inoculation was concerned was omitted from the death certificate.

Mr. Willink

I would remind my hon. Friend that entries in the Death Register, which serves important purposes other than mortality statistics, are strictly governed by statute. The law requires that the cause of death entered in the register should be that certified by the coroner if an inquest has been held; and in any other case the cause as certified by the medical practitioner in attendance during the deceased's last illness. Further, any correction of the cause of death as certified by a coroner after inquest is prohibited. On the other hand, while the Registrar-General's statistics of mortality classified by causes are based primarily upon the death register entries, it is possible and customary to take into account much supplementary information which is forthcoming either in reply to inquiries by the Registrar-General's Department for which the contents of particular entries have appeared to call, or from other sources. No occasion for inquiry arose on the contents of the certified cause in the case to which my hon. Friend refers; and no information as to the particulars mentioned in the Question had previously reached the Registrar-General. Inquiry is now being made, however, in order that any further relevant information obtained may be taken into account in connection with the statistical assignment of this death.

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