In times of bereavement

In times of bereavement

When a death occurs at home

  1. Telephone the surgery who will arrange for a doctor to visit and confirm that death has taken place. If this is out of surgery hours, please call 111.
  2. Contact a funeral director.
  3. All expected deaths that occur at home must be referred to the Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO) for approval. The doctor who last saw the deceased alive (within 28 days prior to death) will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to the MEO. You will be contacted by the MEO to confirm you are in agreement with the MCCD before they email this to the register office on your behalf. You can now contact the register office to complete the death registration.

Ideally when someone dies you should register the death within five working days. However, if a coroner is involved, this period is extended.

    Important: Please do not book an appointment with the register office until the MCCD has been approved.

  1. To register the death, you will need to attend the register office, local to where the death took place, and take the deceased’s medical card and birth certificate (if available) with you. You can book an appointment to register a death online ( or by contacting 03000 415151.
  2. The Registrar will issue a green coloured certificate for you to give to your funeral director, and a white notification certificate for the Department of Social Security. They will also enquire as to the number of certified copies you require for dealing with the deceased’s finances (a fee is payable for each copy).

When a death occurs in hospital

  1. Contact a funeral director.
  2. The hospital will issue the MCCD and email this to the register office on your behalf.
  3. Follow steps 4-5 as above.

Important: Please do not book an appointment with the registry office until you have received confirmation that the paperwork has been emailed to them.

Note for cremation

Your funeral director will usually liaise directly with the surgery regarding the additional certification required.

Bereavement support

Bereavement can be a difficult time. It is natural for us to feel pain and other emotions after the loss of a loved one. If you feel that you would like to talk to someone, please contact one of the organisations below.

Please read the Kent Bereavement Guide 2024 for a more comprehensive guide: The Bereavement Guide 2024

Pilgrims Hospice Support Groups

Swale Helpline (adults): 07999 362322 or call: 0800 634 9494 or call: 116 123



Date published: 27th June, 2018
Date last updated: 3rd April, 2024