What To Do When Someone Passes Away?


Confirmation and certification if death occurs at home: This guidance aims to clarify the distinction between confirming and certifying death in relation to GPs’ obligations.

1.   The family should telephone the doctor  (GP is open or out of hours NHS 111 doctor) or appropriately trained nurse or Paramedic who will visit or link by video to confirm that death has taken place.

2.   If the death was expected and the patient has been seen with 28 days by an attending doctor then usually the patients GP can complete the death certificate. The death certificate needs to be completed within 5 days of death.

Once completed it is emailed directly to the Registry office in Guildford. The family can then make an appointment with the Registrar and register the death. The Registrar will normally issue a Green coloured certificate for you to give to your funeral director who will look after necessary arrangements for the funeral. The Registrar will also issue a white notification certificate for the DSS. They will also enquire as to the number of Certified Copies you require for dealing with the deceased finances (a fee is payable for each copy).

3) If the patient has not been seen within 28 days of death or the death was not expected and the emergency service have been involved the body is usual moved to the local mortuary then the matter is referred to the Coroner. The 5 days to complete the death certificate do not apply and the Coroner will decide the next steps and they will detail the cause of death.

4) Once the death certificate has been issued and if the body is to be cremated then the GP can complete the Crem 4 form. This usually takes about 2 weeks and requires a conversation with the family.

If the death is unexpected then it may be the Coroner issues the certificate to allow the cremation.

Click on the link below for a list of local funeral directors: www.yell.com/funeral directors Ashford Middlesex

5.   If death Occurs in a Care Home

Any competent adult can confirm death within a care home. A doctor does not need to visit the care home to confirm death. 

If The Death Occurs In Hospital

1.   Contact a funeral director to inform him/ her services are required.

2.   The Hospital will completed the Death Certificate.

Supportive care

Please see the attached document for contact details and procedure in relation to palliative care and/or looking after some one who is palliative.

McMillian provide a service to help support palliative patients. They can be contacted by calling 0808 808 0000. For more details please visit: www.macmillan.org.uk

Free Bereavement Advice Service – see website: Bereavement advice or Tel 0800 634 9494

Published on 17 September 2023