Independent experts

Reference: INV-4

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Independent experts are a source of expert knowledge and independent opinion. The need to instruct an independent expert will usually be driven by one or both of these factors. 

We will only consider instructing an independent expert if it is both necessary and proportionate to do so. In the majority of cases we do not need to instruct an independent expert to provide the information and evidence we need. Usually we are able to liaise with an appropriately qualified person at a local level who can assist our understanding of the factual issues and their seriousness, and provide any technical knowledge required for our decision makers to make the right decision at the earliest opportunity. However, there are certain circumstances where it is both necessary and proportionate for us to seek the opinion of an independent expert during our investigation.

Usually the key factors in deciding whether to seek an independent expert opinion will be:

  • Is there a need for specialised knowledge or expertise that cannot be obtained locally?
  • Is there a need for an independent opinion?
  • Was there a patient death or was serious harm caused and do we need evidence to help us decide whether the nurse of midwife’s actions were directly responsible?