In Times of Bereavement
As a team we know that when the death of a loved one occurs it can be extremely distressing and upsetting. We want to ensure that all our patients and their families feel well cared for and that any care undertaken by us at this time is done in a professional and sympathetic manner.
We want to ensure that family members are aware of our practices’ procedures when death occurs and provide any further information that may be helpful at this time. As a Medical Practice we are obliged by law to follow certain procedures in a set way, other procedures are carried out as to what we think is best practice.
There are several websites that will explain in more detail about how to register a death and will give advice about what to do in the event of death. The following link is to governmental guidelines on the subject: https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/death.
In the main we will be more involved if the death of patient occurs in the home; one of the main responsibilities a GP will have, as well as caring for the family of the deceased patient, is to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death – MCCD (more commonly known as the death certificate). You will need to obtain a death certificate to be able to register a death.
Guidelines in event of an expected death occurring at home:
- Telephone the practice (you may need to use the ‘out of hours’ 111 service if death occurs between 6.30pm -8am) to arrange a visit and have the death verified by a medical professional. If the verification takes place overnight, please telephone the surgery at 8am in the morning to let us know.
- Once verification has taken place contact a funeral director who will attend to take your loved one to the funeral home.
- If your loved one is being cremated, please let the GP surgery know as this requires additional forms and may require a GP to view your loved one at the funeral home.
Once our paperwork (MCCD – death certificate) has been completed it will be sent to the medical examiner (an independent medical professional who reviews all deaths) who will then forward this to the Registrar whereupon you will be able to obtain certified copies. This process usually takes 24-48hours.
Barnet Registry office phone number: 020 8359 6400
- Once you have obtained the certified copies you are then able to continue arrangements with the funeral director as per your wishes.
- If you require the MCCD more urgently (because you would like to arrange a timely burial/ cremation for religious reasons for example). Please let the practice know when you contact us, and we will do our best to arrange things as soon as possible.
- The registrar’s office will give you several certificates and your funeral directors should explain what to do with them next. You may also want to obtain more copies of the death certificate from the Registrars for bank, probate etc. (a fee will be payable for each copy). The GP surgery does not give out copies of the MCCD.
If the Death Occurs at Hospital
- Contact a funeral director to inform them their services are required.
- Collect the MCCD from the hospital as discussed with the hospital team.
If the Death is Unexpected
Contact 999 to inform a medical professional who will attend. The coroner is likely to be involved in this circumstance and they will contact the surgery.
Please do contact the surgery if you of unsure of any of the steps, our team will be more than happy to talk you through the above. It is a very difficult time, and we understand the process can be daunting.
If you have recently suffered a bereavement and need to talk to someone, please note that any of the doctors or nurses will be happy to see you and if necessary, guide you to bereavement services in the local area that you might find comforting and helpful. For any further information or questions please do not hesitate to ask one of our reception team.
Support services available:
Marie Curie Charity:
Telephone: 0800 090 2309
Sue Ryder charity: