The passing away of a loved one is always a stressful time. We hope to avoid adding to relatives’ distress by streamlining our process for obtaining a death certificate from the practice. However our message to you is this….
Please refrain from making an appointment with the Registrar to Certify the Death of a loved one until you have the Death Certificate in your possession.
Nursing and Care home staff often advise patients to ask the surgery for a Death Certificate and make an appointment with the Registrar to register the death as a matter of urgency. This puts pressure on the GP to produce a certificate, and sometimes the situation is complicated even when we know the patient.
Whilst the patient’s usual GP will generally be able to process a Death Certificate within 24 hours for an expected death (where there is an end of life pathway in place), in other circumstances the GP has to discuss the death with the coroner’s office first.
This leads to a delay in our ability to certify the death and it may be up to 72 hours before the certificate can be issued by the attending GP, if at all. For example, if the patient has not been seen by the GP in the preceding 14 days, a referral to the coroner is made.
Sometimes we can process the certificate but only after that discussion. Another example might be when a nursing home patient has had a recent hospital admission and has passed away before the usual GP has seen the patient again in the community (so the usual GP has not seen the patient within the 14 days preceding death).
After coroner review, these certificates are often done by the hospital doctors attending the deceased in the last few days of life before they were discharged back into the community and not by the GP at all. Deaths of children are always referred to the coroner.
We will keep the care co-ordinators informed of where we are up to in terms of generating a certificate so they are your point of contact for queries. The Care co-ordinators will also advise you when the Death Certificate is ready for collection.