Bereavement Services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

This page contains lots of useful information about what to do when someone dies.

Please click on one of the links below for further information.


Collection of the Medical Cause of Death Certificate

In the first instance an appointment must be made for you to visit the Bereavement Office to collect the ‘Medical Cause of Death Certificate’. A member of ward staff will obtain the next available Bereavement Office appointment for you.

Please telephone the Bereavement Office on 020 8836 4662 between 10am – 12pm the next working day following a death. The office is open Monday - Friday 8am – 1pm & 2pm - 4pm, excluding Bank Holidays.


Patient's property

This will be given back to you on the ward if you were present at the time of death, or may be obtained from the Cashiers Office when you come to collect the Medical Cause of Death Certificate. The Cashiers Office is located in Main Reception.


What to do when you get to the hospital

On arrival at Queen Elizabeth Hospital please go to Main Reception and inform a receptionist that you have arrived for an appointment at the Bereavement Office. The Bereavement Office is located in Main Reception; the Bereavement Officer will come to find you.

The Bereavement Officer will give you the Medical Cause of Death Certificate which has to be taken to the Registrar of Births and Deaths. Please see below for details of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.

The Coroner

Where the death was sudden, unexpected or the patient's stay in hospital has been less than 24 hours, Doctors may not be able to issue a certificate. There are also specific circumstances when the hospital Doctor is required by law to report the death to the Coroner.

Whilst the Bereavement Office staff will be able to provide you with information relating to the procedures following the death of a patient it is not possible for them to influence any processes where the offices of the Coroner are involved. The Coroner is an independent judicial office holder, appointed and paid by the relevant local authority.

The Coroner is usually a doctor or lawyer who has a legal responsibility for establishing the time, date, place, and cause of death, also any circumstances that may have contributed to the death.

The Coroner may, in some circumstances, arrange for a post-mortem examination to be carried out.  The Coroner has the legal right to order a post mortem examination.

 A Coroner’s Officer will contact you or another member of the deceased’s family if you are not the next of kin; they will explain the reason for their involvement, the Registration procedure and will inform you if a post-mortem examination is necessary. However, the involvement of the Coroner does not generally cause any delay with the funeral. The Coroner’s Office is located at Southwark Coroners Court, 1 Tennis Street, Southwark SE1 1YD, telephone number 020 7525 4200.


Registration

All deaths should be registered within 5 days (unless a Coroner is investigating the circumstances of the death) with the Registrar of Births and Deaths, usually in the area where the death occurred.

You can arrange this appointment yourself, but it must be arranged for a time and date after you have attended your appointment to collect the Medical Cause of Death Certificate.

When you telephone the Registrar’s Office they will inform you what documents you need to take with you.

To make an appointment please telephone 020 8921 5015/5016.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich Registrar’s Office is located at Woolwich Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6PW. Opening times are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm


Funeral Directors

The organising of a funeral can be done as soon after death as you feel comfortable. The deceased may have left instructions regarding their wishes for the funeral arrangements; you do not need to wait until you have Registered the death. However, do not feel you have to rush, take time to think about what you want.

You may wish to approach more than one Funeral Director to get an estimate of their costs before making your choice; you will find that your chosen Funeral Director will be able to guide you in every detail in making the funeral arrangements.

 The Bereavement Officer will be able to advise you of names of Funeral Directors in your area if required but they are not allowed to make any personal recommendation as this is against hospital policy.

Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to act on your behalf; they will contact the Hospital Mortuary to arrange collection of the body and any necessary documentation.

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