The primary role of the Bereavement Office is to offer support and guidance to bereaved relatives and loved ones until their family member is released into the care of their chosen funeral director. We also facilitate the completion of the medical certificate of cause of death, if one can be issued, and any other paperwork that needs to be done, such as cremation forms.
The process of completing the medical certificate begins first thing in the morning when the details of deaths that have occurred overnight are established and the patient’s notes and any property they may have had is brought down from the ward on which they died. If a patient dies during the day, the notes are organised as soon as possible and brought down at the earliest opportunity.
From looking at the notes, the Bereavement Team will be able to find the doctor(s) who attended the patient during their last illness and is able to complete a medical certificate of cause of death. The doctor will be bleeped and a time arranged for them to attend the bereavement office to discuss with a Medical Examiner and complete the relevant paperwork.
When a patient dies in hospital, in circumstances that fall under the jurisdiction of the coroner, a discussion between the attending doctor and the Coroner’s Office will take place. The Coroner's Office may make contact with you to discuss further. If the Coroner deems it appropriate, they will support the issuing of the medical certificate with a form commonly known as a ‘Pink A’ rather than authorise a post-mortem examination. The Bereavement Suite will then contact you once the paperwork has been completed and forwarded to the registrars. Please bear in mind that timescales for the completion of paperwork may vary due to the doctor's availability.
A death is reportable to the Coroner if:
- The cause of death is unknown or if the doctor is unsure of what to write
- When the death may not be due to natural causes
- The death has occurred during an operation or before full recovery from the anaesthetic
- If the deceased suffered a fracture or major trauma within a year of their death
- The death may be related to a medical procedure or treatment
When the medical certificate has been completed, this will be sent electronically to the Wiltshire Registration Office, along with the next of kin details as provided. The next working day, after 10:00, you will be able to contact the Registration Office to make an appointment to register and collect the death certificate.
Once the above process is complete, your loved one will be released into the care of your chosen funeral director, who will also collect any remaining property.
If you need any further clarification or information, please let us know.