When Someone Dies

If the death was expected, contact the doctor who attended the deceased during their final illness. If the death occurred at a Nursing Home, the staff will contact the doctor. If the doctor can certify the cause of death you will be given a Medical Certificate that shows the cause of death (in a sealed envelope addressed to the registrar).

If a death is sudden or unexpected, you should contact The family doctor (if known); The deceased's nearest relative; The police (who will help find the nearest relative if necessary). If there is any reason to suspect the death was not due to natural causes, do not touch or remove anything in the room. The death may be referred to the coroner.

If the death occurs in hospital, the staff will contact the person named by the deceased as next of kin. This may be, but need not be, a relative. The hospital will advise whether it is possible for a doctor to issue the medical certificate, and when this will be availiable for collection. If a doctor who has treated the deceased is unable to issue a death certificate the death will be reported to HM Coroner for that district.

In any of the following circumstances the doctor may report the death to the coroner:

  • an accident or injury

  • an industrial disease

  • during a surgical operation

  • before recovering from an anaesthetic

  • if the cause of death is unknown

  • the death was sudden and unexplained

If the person who has died has not been seen or treated by a doctor within the last 14 days or has been admitted into hospital less than 24 hours before they died the death must be reported to the coroner.