What to do if a death occurs while in Hospital
If the family are not present at the time of death the nursing staff or hospital representative will inform you.
The hospital doctor responsible for treating the deceased prior to death will issue the medical certificate.
This is usually then made available for collection from the hospital’s bereavement service office. You may be required to make an appointment with them to arrange this. The medical certificate is required in order that the death can be registered.
Registration of the death must take place within 5 days. Once registered you will be issued with a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘Green Form’). We require this to enable us to make arrangements for cremation.
The death may be referred to the Coroner to ascertain the cause of death and a post-mortem examination may be required, no medical certificate will be issued at this time if this is the case.
The coroner may decide the cause of death is clear, in this case the hospital 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. The death can’t be registered until after the inquest, 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
Upon collection of the medical certificate the hospital representative may ask the family to sign a release form to enable the deceased to be taken into our care.
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.
If you have suffered a loss then please feel free to contact us at any time, Freephone on 0800 0868873 or 0161 768 0767
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