In Times of Bereavement

When a loved one dies at home


Losing a loved one is of course one of the most distressing events that can happen to anyone.  This leaflet is designed to help you manage as best you can by giving you some of the vital information you will need.

Whether you are able to read it in advance because of a known diagnosis or whether something has suddenly happened, we hope that you will find it useful.

The doctors and team at the surgery are here to help, and this leaflet will also help guide you to the many other people and organizations that are there to support you through a difficult time.



In the case of an expected death


Contact your GP immediately either at the surgery

  • 01480 466611 during surgery hours (between 8.00am – 6.00pm)
  • Or via the out of hours service by telephoning 111


If death occurs during the night (between 6.00pm and 8am) you do not need to contact a doctor until the following morning unless you want to (but it is quite usual to call the 111 service).


Once the death has been verified by a Doctor the Funeral Director can be contacted and the deceased’s body released to their care. Funeral Directors can offer relevant advice and will guide you through the next steps.


Please be aware that even in the case of an expected death you are likely to feel shocked and distressed. Bear in mind that you may not take in information as readily as usual, and you may want to write things down in order to remember them.


Funeral Directors provide a 24hr service and can arrange for the deceased to be taken to a funeral home day or night. They normally respond  within 2 hours.



The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

The deceased’s regular GP will usually prepare the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). This may take up to 48 hours depending on the availability of the doctor who might only work part-time.


It is not unusual for the doctor to discuss the cause of death with the Coroner, even if the death was clearly from natural causes. This will be necessary if the deceased died suddenly, and had not been under a doctor’s care during the past 28 days. This does not mean that a post-mortem examination is necessary, but the MCCD cannot be released until confirmation of the Coroner’s agreement has been received.


The MCCD will be emailed by the GP to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.



Registering the death

A relative can now arrange an appointment with the Registrar to register the death. Unless the Coroner is involved, the death should be registered within 5 days.


These appointments are currently being carried out by telephone. There are 2 ways to book an appointment with the Registrar:

By telephone:
0345 045 1363



The process takes up to an hour and the Registrar will guide you.


The Registrar will require the following information:

    • the person's full name at time of death and any names previously used, including maiden surname
    • the person's date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad)
    • their last address
    • their occupation
    • the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner
    • if they were getting a state pension or any other state benefit



The Registrar will then provide a certificate called the “green form” that gives permission for the body to be buried or cremated. In all cases, the Registrar will give you a certificate of registration of death (form BD8), issued for social security purposes if the person was on a state pension or benefits (read the information on the back, complete and return it, if it applies).

The Registrar will also provide you with the death certificate. You will almost certainly need extra copies of the death certificate in order to inform banks etc. The Registrar can provide them for you, there will be an extra charge for them, but they will be less expensive than asking for them later.


If the deceased is to be cremated another form has to be completed by the deceased’s GP. This will be emailed by the GP to the Funeral Director. The GP and the Funeral Director will manage these arrangements.




In the case of a sudden death

Contact emergency services 999


Both Ambulance and Police will be mobilised. You should leave the area untouched, except for any action needed for resuscitation.


If there is any suspicion that a crime has been committed, then the police family liaison officer will guide you through the process.



Useful Link

This leaflet lists the main services available across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area, and national organisations, that offer support for people who have lost a loved one. If you feel you need support or advice, it may be helpful to first talk to your GP. They may be able to help you see a counsellor if this will be helpful. Faith communities can also be a source of support for many people. 

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website