Journal of Surgical Simulation 2020; 7: 80 - 84

Published: 14 December 2020


Original article

Simulation training: a novel and effective way to improve knowledge and attitudes towards coroner’s court attendance

Kathryn M. O’Shea, Rachel Harwood, Joanna Crichton, Michelle Perrigo and Sarah Wood
Corresponding author: Kathryn M. O’Shea, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Department of Paediatric Surgery, East Prescot Road, Liverpool, L14 5AB, UK. Email:


Aim: Attending an inquest is almost inevitable during a surgeon’s career. There is currently no requirement or provision for doctors in training to receive formal education regarding coroner’s court. We aim to assess knowledge and attitudes towards the coroner’s court process before and after attending a simulation-based training day.

Methods: A paediatric surgery regional teaching day delivered interactive seminars on statement writing and the coroner’s court, followed by a simulated inquest. A questionnaire assessing knowledge and attitudes was administered to all participants before and after attendance at the simulation day. Data were analysed using a chi-squared test. Significance levels were taken at P < 0.05.

Results: We report a 35/45 (78%) pre-course response rate and a 28/47 (60%) post-course response rate. Significant improvement in knowledge of the coroner’s court process was reported in all areas questioned. The perception of the function of an inquest changed significantly after attending the course. The course did not significantly reduce the anticipated anxiety of health care professionals around the inquest process.

Conclusion: We have demonstrated that simulation training improves knowledge and changes attitudes towards the coroner’s court. However, it remains an anxiety-provoking experience and delivering a session on supporting the mental health of doctors would complement this well. We recommend that training on coroner’s court and inquests becomes a mandated part of higher medical and surgical training and advise that simulation is an effective way of delivering this training.


coroner’s court; simulation training; knowledge and attitude