When death occurs
What to do first
When death occurs at home and a doctor has seen the deceased within 14 days prior to the death phone the doctor straight away. It may be out of hours for the surgery but there is always an on call doctor to speak to. They will ask you a few basic questions and advise you to call the funeral director to take the deceased into their care. If this has happened out of hours, we will contact the surgery on opening to advise the deceased’s doctor where the person is. The Doctor may need to come to our Chapel to examine the deceased to issue a Certificate of Cause Of Death. If death occurs during surgery time the doctor may come out to your home to confirm the cause of death, he will give permission for the deceased to be moved into our care. A Cause of Death Certificate may be issued at this time, or, will be made available for collection from the doctor’s surgery later in the day.
When a death occurs in hospital or a nursing home
If death occurs in hospital, the patient services or bereavement department will look after the official paperwork for you. They will make you an appointment to visit them to collect the Certificate of cause of death from them. If death occurs in a nursing/care home, they will contact the surgery or the doctor involved and find out when and where the Certificate can be collected, usually this is by you from the Doctors surgery. You need the certificate of cause of death to take to the registrars to register the death.
When a death occurs at home
If an expected death occurs at home and the doctor has visited over the previous 14 days, then you should contact your surgery as soon as possible, even if this is out of hours, there is always a duty doctor to speak to. They will then advise you if you are able to call your chosen funeral director to arrange for your loved one to be taken into the care of their Chapel of Rest. The doctor will issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and the surgery will let you know when this will be available to be collected. Upon receipt of the Medical Certificate you will then need to book an appointment at the Registrar’s office. For more details on Registering a Death please visit our Registration page.
When a death is unexpected or suspicious
If the deceased has not been seen by a doctor within 14 days prior to dying, telephone the police. The police will act for Her Majesty’s Coroner, they call their contracted funeral director to take the deceased into their care. The Coroners officer will keep in touch with you and let you what is happening at all times. If the coroners contracted funeral director is called to take the deceased into the care of the coroner for investigation into the cause of death you are not obliged to use their services for arranging the funeral. You are free to contact a funeral director of your own choosing if you wish to do so, you will need to let the coroners officer know so they can contact them when the body is released for the funeral arrangements to go ahead.
There are a number of reasons that a death might be reported to H. M. Coroner. There is no need for alarm and you should be guided by the coroner’s officer who will inform you of the procedures and involvement of the pathology team. The coroners officer will notify you when registration may be able to take place and when the deceased can be released into the care of the Funeral Director.