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Death Notification Process

We strive to provide excellent care for our patients in life and also in death. We understand losing a loved one can be a distressing time so we hope this guide helps explain the next steps in the ‘notification of death’ process and how to get a death certificate.

If one of our patients has died at home please contact our reception team on 02392 009117 who will take some details from you to pass onto the GP.

If one of our patients dies in hospital they will help you with the next steps. Please contact the Bereavement Services (porthosp.nhs.uk) and they will guide you through what happens next.

Once we have been notified that one of our patients has passed away the GP will review the medical records and where possible complete a medial certificate stating the cause of death. This is required for a death to be legally registered. To do this we often have to speak to others who have been involved in the patients care so this may take a few days. Where possible we will complete the certificate so you can register the death within the required 5 days.

In some cases we are unable to complete the medical certificate and we may be required to inform the coroner. Common examples of this include:

  • If we do not know the cause of death.
  • If a doctor has not seen the patient in the last 28 days.
  • If there is an industrial illness.
  • If the patient had an operation in the last year.

Often the coroner will allow us to complete the medical certificate on their behalf. Sometimes the coroner must complete the certificate themselves and they will contact you and explain the next steps. 

If we can provide a medical certificate, we will send it to the Portsmouth Registry Office. We will let you know when this has happened so you can make an appointment with them to register the death. The registrar will then issue a death certificate.

If the funeral is a cremation, then there is some additional paperwork we need to complete before the funeral. To complete this paperwork a GP must have seen the patient in the 28 days before or after their death. We are also required to speak to family and other health care professionals involved in the patients care. This may take a few days. We do our best to make this process as quick as possible to enable families the space to grieve at this difficult time.

Useful links:

Registering a death – Portsmouth City Council

What to do when someone dies: step by step – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What to do when someone dies – what should I do next? | Age UK