It is surprising that the law governing inquests continues to be 1950s legislation that prevents coroners from opening inquiries unless a baby has drawn a breath.
Bereaved families are often angry in the immediate period after the death of a loved one, especially a child, and have questions they want addressed while events are still fresh. Civil claims and complaints can be submitted, but that can take time.
After the death of a stillborn child, families will inevitably have questions surrounding the care leading up to the death and want reassurance that the treatment received was adequate. The purpose of the inquest is not to apportion blame - the aim of any civil claim - but to investigate the circumstances leading to the cause of death. The coroner will call evidence from those involved and, where necessary, instruct independent medical experts to comment and put forward any criticism of the care..
Without an inquest, families, often at their most vulnerable, will inevitably feel their voice and concerns have been unheard and an opportunity to investigate has been missed. This can drive a bigger divide between patients and hospitals, with the family feeling that medics have something to hide and feelings of mistrust can develop..