When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. Unfortunately these often have to be made at a time of personal distress.
We hope the following information will provide help and guidance about what to do from the moment of a person’s death.
What needs to happen first will depend on the circumstances of the death and where death has occurred. This will also affect the type of documentation that you will need.
If the death was at home and expected you should contact the deceased’s doctor who, if satisfied with the cause of death, will issue the Medical Certificate of Death. When the doctor has given permission we will be able to remove the deceased to our chapel of rest. Our staff are on call at all times, day or night.
Care home staff will liaise on your behalf in the event of the death occurring in the care home. If the doctor is unsure about the actual cause of death even if it was clearly from natural causes, or if the deceased died suddenly and had not been under a doctor’s care during the past 14 days, or the death is unnatural, they will contact the coroner.
The coroner will arrange for the deceased to be moved to a mortuary by a funeral director acting for the coroner. The coroner may order a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death and then issue the documents allowing the death to be registered.
If the death is unexpected , you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance and police immediately. The paramedics will carry out resuscitation or will confirm the death. The police will arrange for the deceased to be moved to a mortuary by a funeral director acting for the coroner.
The coroner may order a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death and then issue the documents allowing the death to be registered.
Donations of organs for transplant is not usually possible following a death out of hospital, but donations of tissues may still be possible.
Please tell the doctor and our staff as it may be necessary to move the body to a hospital rather than our chapel of rest.
If the deceased has died in hospital or hospice and you are the named next of kin, the nursing staff will inform you. Most hospitals have bereavement staff who coordinate the issue of documentation and will explain the procedures to you.
In other places this may be done by the ward staff. In some cases the hospital staff will have to refer the death to the coroner. This means they will not be able to issue the Medical Certificate and the coroner’s office will give you further information about when you can register the death.
When the relevant certificates have been issued our staff will be able to remove the deceased to our chapel of rest.
If the person who has died had registered for organ or tissue donation and they are eligible, the transplant coordinator at the hospital will talk to you regarding the arrangements.
A public place refers to anywhere that is not a care facility or someone's home. This might be a hotel, a school, sports club or a street. Usually the emergency services, i.e. the police and an ambulance, are called because the death is unexpected.
If the death appears to have been natural but the ambulance service feels that further resuscitation and transfer to hospital is not required, the police will usually arrange for the funeral director working for the coroner to remove the body to the nearest public mortuary (this may be located at a hospital). The ambulance service may do this if the deceased person is located in a very public place, such as a shop.
As most deaths in public places are unexpected, they are reported by the police to the coroner who will usually order a post mortem examination unless a doctor has been treating the person for a condition which might have caused a sudden collapse.
If the death was unnatural, the police will be in charge of the area and will arrange for a funeral director working for the coroner to remove the body to the nearest public mortuary. This may be at a hospital.
If the death occurs overseas, the registration process in that country must be followed in order to obtain a death certificate.
You can arrange to have the funeral overseas if you wish. However, if you would prefer to return the deceased back to the UK please contact us and we will be able to advise you on the practicalities.
This will include obtaining necessary documents from:
If covered by an insurance policy the repatriation will be arranged directly by the insurance company.
If the repatriation is your responsibility then please check with us regarding the costs involved before confirming arrangements as all repatriation specialists require prior payment.
A death should be registered as soon as possible, by law within five days. To do this you need to firstly establish if the deceased’s doctor, or the doctor who was last in attendance, is able to sign a death certificate.
When this has been completed you will need to call the G.P surgery to establish where and when you can collect the certificate. (If the deceased has died in a hospital you should call and ask to speak to the Relative Support Office who will give you an appointment for you to collect the certificate.)
When you have the certificate or know when you will have it, you need to telephone the registrars call centre to make an appointment to register the death.
Deaths can be registered at:
DEAL: The Library, Broad Street, CT14 6ER
CANTERBURY: Wellington House, St Stephen’s Road, CT2 7HT
DOVER: Dover Discovery Centre, Market Square, CT16 1PH
RAMSGATE: The Library, Guildford Lawn, CT11 9AY
SANDWICH: The Library, Market Street, CT13 9DA
If it is more convenient deaths can now also be registered at:- Ashford, Broadstairs, Cranbrook, Dartford, Faversham, Folkestone, Gravesend, Herne Bay, Hythe, Lydd, Maidstone, Margate, New Romney, Pembury, Ramsgate, Sevenoaks, Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Swanley, Tenterden, Tonbridge, or Tunbridge Wells.
The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (the doctors death certificate, it will be given to you in a small brown or white envelope) and also the deceased’s Medical Card - if available.
Once you have registered the death you will be given copies of the death certificate (as many as you need, please note there is a fee to pay) and a GREEN certificate which you should give to us as soon as possible.
lf the deceased’s doctor is unable to issue a death certificate the death is referred to the Coroner for investigation. A Coroner’s officer should now inform you of what will happen. In most cases a post-mortem examination will need to be carried out and in some cases an inquest will be opened afterwards.
Funeral arrangements should not be finalised until the Coroner gives permission, although when a date for the post-mortem has been fixed a provisional funeral booking can usually be made.
To register a coroners death (non-inquest) you should telephone the registrars the day after the post mortem to see if they have received the paperwork from the Coroner. If they have you can then make an appointment to go and register.
If the funeral is a cremation then you do not have to register the death before the funeral as the Coroner sends a cremation certificate directly to the crematorium allowing the funeral to take place. You should however register the death as soon as possible.
If the funeral is a burial then you must register the death before the funeral and you will be given a green certificate which you should give to us.
If the Coroner opens an inquest into the death then you will not be able to register the death until after the inquest has taken place. The Coroner will issue you an Interim Death Certificate and to us either a cremation certificate or burial order to allow the funeral to take place.
|Registrars call centre||0845 8247400|
|Balmoral Surgery||01304 373444|
|Queen Street Surgery||01304 363181|
|The Cedars Surgery||01304 373341|
|Market Place Surgery||01304 613436|
|The Butchery Surgery||01304 612138|
|Chiltern Field Surgery||01304 812227|
|Aylesham Health Centre||01304 840415|
|Q.E.Q.M. Relative Support Office||01843 234452|
|Kent & Cant. Relative Support Office||01227 864006|
|Deal Hospital||01304 865400|
|Buckland Hospital||01304 201624|
|William Harvey Hospital Relative Support||01233 633331|
|Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury||01227 459700|
|Pilgrims Hospice, Ashford||01233 504100|
|Pilgrims Hospice, Thanet||01843 233920|
|Coroner's Office, Canterbury||01227 817008|
|Coroner's Office, Thanet||01843 222092|
|Coroner's Office, Ashford||01233 619123|
Deal. CT14 6ER
Ramsgate. CT11 9AY
Dover Discovery Centre,
Margate. CT9 1RE