If a patient is not in hospital at the time of death, a GP will need to visit the patient to certify the death, please call the surgery immediately to arrange a visit. A paramedic may be able to certify the death if emergency services have attended the home.

The following steps must also be followed in the first few days after someone dies. This describes the process in the current covid pandemic and may change in the future:

  1. If the patient is not in hospital please call the surgery to provide us with as many details as you can, ie is the deceased patient for burial or cremation, and which funeral directors have been chosen. 
  2. One of our GPs (normally the one who has certified the death or one who has had a recent consultation with the deceased patient) will prepare the certificate.
  3. Our GP will send the certificate to the registrar.
  4. The death should be registered within 5 days. Family/next of kin will receive the documents needed from the registrar to arrange a funeral, including a copy of the death certificate.
  5. Arrange the funeral-you can use a funeral director or arrange it yourself.

You can usually use the TELL US ONCE service to report a death to most government organisations in one go. 

You do not need to deal with the will, money and property straight away. 


If the death has been reported to a coroner the death cannot be registered until the coroner gives permission. 


A doctor may report the death to a coroner if the: 

  • Cause of death is unknown 
  • Death was violent or unnatural
  • Death was sudden or unexplained 
  • Person who died was not visited by a medical practitioner during their final illness 
  • Medical certificate is not available 
  • Person who died was not seen by the doctor who signed the medical certificate within 14 days before death or after they died
  • Death occurred during an operation or before the person came out of anaesthetic
  • Medical certificate suggests the death may have been caused by an industrial disease or poisoning.

The coroner may decide that the cause of death is clear, in this case:

  1. The doctor signs the medical certificate
  2. The doctor sends the certificate to the registrar
  3. The coroner issues a certificate to the registrar stating a post mortem is not needed.


The funeral can only take place after the death is registered.

Choose a funeral director who is a member of one of the following:

  • National Association of Funeral Directors
  • National Federation of Funeral Directors
  • Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors


Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most Government organisations in one go.

Your local registrar will have given you a unique reference number to access the Tell Us Once service online or by phone. You will need to provide the deceased’s:

Date of Birth, National Insurance Number, Driving License Number, Passport Number, details of any benefits they were getting, eg State Pension., details of any local council services they were getting eg Blue Badge, name and address of their next of kin, name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their “Executor” or “Administrator”

You need to obtain permission from the next of kin, executor, administrator or anyone who was claiming joint benefits or entitlements with the deceased,, before you give their details.

For more information please go to:


Bereavement Group

 Would you like to talk to someone about your bereavement?  We run a bereavement support group here at the Practice.  Please see the above leaflet form more information.



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