If the death happens outside the normal surgery hours you may have to wait until the surgery reopens or it may be possible for another doctor to attend.
Only once the doctor has attended and confirmed the death can the deceased be taken into our care.
A day or so after attending, if there are no concerning circumstances the doctor will issue a medical certificate stating the cause of the death. You will usually be required to collect this from the doctor’s surgery. The medical certificate is required in order that the death can be registered.
Registration of the death must take place within 5 days of the certificate being issued. Once registered you will be issued with a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘Green Form’) We will require this to enable us to make arrangements for cremation. Prior to a cremation a second independent doctor is required to examine the body and confirm the cause of death if the coroner is not involved.
If the doctor attending the deceased is unable to ascertain the cause of death, or the deceased has not had reason to visit the doctor within the previous 14 days, the doctor may, in some cases, refer the death to the local coroner and no medical certificate will be issued at this time.
If this situation arises the doctor may wish to contact another funeral director, one contracted to the Coroner to arrange for the deceased to be taken to Hospital. We are happy to accept your instruction to take care of the deceased prior to this and arrange for the transfer to Hospital on your behalf. You are under no obligation to engage the services of the coroner contracted funeral director to undertake the arrangements for the funeral service of your loved one.
You are free to choose any funeral director you wish.
The coroner may decide the cause of death is clear, in this case the doctor will issue you the medical certificate, you register the death within 5 days and the coroner advises the registrar that no post mortem examination is required.
If the cause of death is unclear a post-mortem examination may be required to ascertain the cause of death (you can’t object to this). Once completed and if no further examinations are required the coroners’ office will submit the relevant paperwork to the registrar stating the cause of death and what is to be entered on the register.
You must then register the death within 5 days.
A coroner must hold an inquest if the cause of death is still unknown, or if the person:
possibly died a violent or unnatural death
died in prison or police custody
You can’t register the death until after the inquest. The coroner is responsible for sending the relevant paperwork to the registrar but the coroner can give you an interim death certificate to prove the person is dead.
You can use this to let organisations know of the death and to apply for probate.
When the inquest is over the coroner will tell the registrar what to put in the register.
You can go to any register office but if you use the one in the area where the person died you’ll be given the documents you’ll need on the day. If you use a different register office the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person died before they’re issued to you.
This means you’ll usually wait a few days.
Prior to a cremation a second independent doctor is required to examine the body and confirm the cause of death if the coroner is not involved.