Doctors are less likely to report the death of a woman to a coroner than they are a man’s, a study has found.

Across a 10-year period, medics reported the deaths of 49 per cent of male deaths compared to 39 per cent of female deaths.

And coroners hold fewer inquests for women than men, researchers found.

They note that 16 per cent of male deaths reported resulted in an inquest compared to just 8 per cent of female deaths.

Researchers examined Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics data on deaths reported to coroners between 2001 and 2010 in England and Wales and found that there are also local variations in the reporting of deaths.

Doctors have the responsibility to either report a death to the coroner or issue a medical certificate specifying the cause of death.

Of all registered deaths, around 46 per cent are reported to the coroner, but the percentage of deaths reported varies considerably depending on where the person died. For instance in Stamford, Lincolnshire, just 12 per cent of deaths were reported compared to 87 per cent of deaths in Plymouth and south Devon, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

“Deaths of women in England and Wales are less likely to be reported to the coroner than deaths of men,” the authors said.

“Female deaths reported are less likely to proceed to inquest than male deaths, and female deaths proceeding to inquest are less likely to result in a verdict of unnatural death than male deaths.

“Some coroners seem especially ‘gendered’ in their decision-making in that they are consistently more likely to favour a particular verdict according to the sex of the deceased.”