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Printed at: 06:42:46 / 23-09-2021

Bereavement Information

Please note, this page is printable by selecting the normal print options on your computer.


Please bring your yellow booklet with you if you are coming to the mortuary for a viewing. It is your parking permit and needs to be placed in view on your Dash Board or you may be ticketed and fined. We have allocated spaces, so please follow these directions.

Enter the Hospital site from Standing Way and then turn right at the roundabout, go passed the Emergency Department on the left. Parking for the Bereavement service is in Car Park A Disabled on your left hand side. There are two allocated spaces for the Bereavement Service (Green and White signage). Please refer to the map for your directions. If you are coming for a viewing please park as above and stay in your car and we will meet you. We will confirm this when booking a viewing time, especially if you are coming by taxi.

For a map to the Bereavement Service office in Oak House at the hospital, please click here.

At this time we wish to convey our deepest sympathy.

The aim of this booklet is to give you guidance at what is a very difficult time. Bereavement is something which all people experience at some time in their lives; confusion and desolation may well describe your feelings at the moment. At the back of the booklet is a contact list and a checklist to help you organise arrangements. It may be useful to get other members of the family or a friend to
make some calls for you. Also if you have any comments about the end-of- life care your relative received, please let us know or contact PALS. We will give you a booklet about this.

What do I need to do?

Bereavement Information
Bereavement Officers: Sue Ferrara & Tina John.

When a person dies in hospital a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) will be issued, provided there is no Coroner’s involvement. This Medical Certificate is not the official Death Certificate, but you will need it to register the death. You will receive a call from the Medical examiner who will ask you if you have any concerns about care and treatment of your relative. The MCCD will only be issued once this has taken place.

The role of the Medical examiner
“The aim of the Medical examiner is to provide an enhanced degree of independence and objectivity in the scrutiny of in hospital-deaths within the Trust whilst improving death certification, referrals to the coroner, and discussion of causes of death with relatives” The National Quality Boards learning from Death guidance. The Bereavement office will contact you to explain the process of registration. We fully understand that you may wish to get underway with your arrangements, but there is a process to be followed to comply with the law .We will call you as quickly as we can to enable you to proceed. You are at liberty to leave a message on our answerphones if you wish.

Office numbers: 01908 996155 or 01908 996154

If you leave a message we will respond as quickly as we can. We carry bleeps (numbers at the back of the booklet), however we may be with relatives and cannot respond immediately. You may use our email [email protected]

The office is open: 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holiday or weekends)

How to register a death
Registering a death should take place within 5 days of the death. If the death has been referred to the coroner this time frame is longer. Once issue of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been agreed, it will be scanned to the Register Office. We will need the name, telephone number and email address (if you have one) for the relative who will register the death. Once the Register Office have checked the certificate,  an automated e mail will be sent to the relative named, to book a telephone appointment to register the death. Once the appointment is booked a confirmation e mail will be sent which has a pre-registration form attached. The pre-registration form asks for the following:

Information about the person who has died:
. Date and place of birth.
. Home address
. Occupation – If married or a widow, the full name and occupation of their spouse.
. If the person was married, the date of birth of their spouse.
. The NHS number (don’t worry if you can’t find it).

If the Bereavement Service did not provide an e mail for the relative, a booking can still be made by calling 01908 372101. The contact centre can check they have the documents required and book a telephone registration appointment for you. Once the death has been registered over the phone, the registrar will issue the following:

1.The formal Death Certificate. A charge is made for this and each copy you require. (The number of copies you require depends on the size of the estate you are dealing with but you will need one
for banks, insurance policies, investments, probate or letters of administration) currently £11 each. These will be sent out to you.

2.A green certificate for burial or cremation. This will be scanned to your Funeral Directors to allow the funeral to take place. The deceased cannot be  moved from the hospital until the green form has been provided. If a cremation is going to take place the appropriate forms also have to be completed before the deceased is moved. The green form is free of charge.

3.A DWP form BD8 which deals with benefits and state pension. The Register Office now offers a “Tell Us Once” service. This cancels local authority departments, pensions etc and reduces the number of phone calls you will have to make. This service is free.

The Bereavement Office will send you the following useful documents :
1. Mail cancelling card from The Bereavement Register.
2. Hospital Release form which you hand or e mail to your chosen Funeral Director.
3. Bereavement letter from our Risk and Clinical Governance team.
4. PALS leaflet (Patient Advice and Liaison Service).

You will be given the opportunity to collect any personal effects. Property that is not collected will be held for a month and then disposed of according to hospital policy. Please be aware that wedding rings and similar items will be left in place until the deceased is taken to the Funeral Directors of your choice.

Organ donation
The organ donation law changed in England in May 2020 to an ‘opt out system’. This means that if you are not in an excluded group and have not confirmed whether you want to be an organ donor (either by recording a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, or by speaking to friends and family) it will be considered that you agree to donate your organs when you die. You still have a choice about whether or not you wish to become a donor and your faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected. For further information on the opt out system – 0300
303 2094.

Last respects in the Mortuary Viewing Room
The mortuary provides post-mortem facilities and optimum storage for both hospital and community deaths. Viewings are limited to weekdays only and these are booked with the Bereavement Officer. On some occasions viewings are not possible and you will be informed of this. Post-mortems, if required are carried out usually within 48hrs, though bank holidays may cause delays. The
Coroner’s officers will confirm when they take place. The mortuary staff cares for every patient with respect and make arrangements for the deceased to be released from the hospital, to the funeral directors, providing all documentation is completed.

The Hospital Chaplains
The Hospital Chaplaincy offers pastoral support for people of any faith, and those who have no faith. You may simply appreciate having someone else to be with you for a while, or someone to talk to. You may like to arrange a blessing for your relative, or feel you would be comforted by prayers being said with you. One of the chaplaincy team can usually be available. If you have specific religious needs you may prefer to have your own faith community leader with you. You can contact them directly or ask the Chaplain to try to do this for you. If you are not sure who to contact, the chaplain can discuss with you who might be appropriate and can then make contact on your behalf. The Chaplaincy provides 24 Hour support for patients, relatives and staff. The Chaplaincy can be contacted via the Bereavement Officer, or you may telephone the direct line 01908 996061. Please leave a message on the answer phone if the Chaplain is not available. Out-of-hours contact can be made through the switchboard. Holy books are available from the Chaplaincy.

Will the case be referred to the Coroner? What does the Coroner do?

It will be necessary for the Coroner to be informed if, for example, your relative or friend’s death is sudden or unexpected or has had surgery. There are other reasons but these are the most common. The Coroner is a qualified Doctor or Lawyer who is responsible for inquiring into the circumstances of some deaths. You will be informed as soon as possible if the death has to be reported to the Coroner, as this will have a bearing on the arrangements you can make. In these circumstances, the death cannot be registered nor can the funeral take place without the Coroner’s
authorisation. However, even if the death has been reported to the Coroner, you should not delay in contacting a Funeral Director who will be able to explain the procedures to you and make the necessary arrangements for the funeral.

The Coroner’s Office may contact relatives, although this is only a formality. If you have any queries about the procedures involved, the Coroner’s Office or the hospital Bereavement Officer will be able to help you. A Coroner can order a post-mortem examination without asking relatives’ permission, although usually relatives are informed. Depending on the cause of death, the Coroner may decide that no further investigation is needed. In these cases the Coroner will complete the Death Certificate and send it direct to the Registrar’s Office. You will be notified of this and then you can make arrangements, refer to “How to Register”. However, in other circumstances, the Coroner may decide that a full investigation into the circumstances of the death should be held. These investigations are known as inquests and are held in public. If an inquest is to be held, the Coroner’s Office will explain the procedures involved and advise you when and where the hearing will be held.

Usually the inquest is opened and adjourned in the first few days after the death and an interim certificate will be issued to your Funeral Director at this stage to allow the funeral to take place. The inquest is normally concluded at a later date and the death cannot be registered until this process is completed.

Hospital Post-Mortem
Request for Consent to Hospital Post-Mortem – when a Medical Certificate of cause of death and formal notice has already been issued. (This is referred to as a hospital post-mortem). If the cause of your relative or friend’s death is quite clear the Doctor will have provided a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and a Formal Notice that the Medical Certificate has been signed. If the death was known to be caused by a natural illness but the Doctors involved with your relative’s care wish to know more about the cause of death and study effects of treatment, they may ask you for permission (consent) to carry out a Post-Mortem examination.

You will be asked for your consent to a Post-Mortem being conducted, and to confirm this officially in writing you will be asked to sign a ‘consent form’. We believe families should be given the opportunity to understand why a Post-Mortem is indicated, the process involved and your rights in the decision making. We therefore wish to guide you to further information. You can choose to limit the extent of the examination and you can find out more details about this and other issues about the Post-Mortem examination from a booklet produced by the Department Of Health called
‘Guide to Post-Mortem’.

This leaflet explains in more detail:
. Limited post mortem examination
. Organs being taken or held for further examination
. Disposal of any tissue or organs taken
. Medical Research and education.

If you do not wish to give consent
It is entirely your decision whether you give consent for Hospital Post-Mortem and if you decide not to you can still register the death and hold a funeral in the normal way. Your decision will not affect either you or anyone else in the future.

Further Information:

You do not have to wait till you have registered the death before contacting a funeral director but if there is a delay for the certificate for any reason the funeral may be delayed.

Arranging the funeral and choosing a Funeral Director
Funeral Directors (or Undertakers) offer advice and a choice of arrangements at varying prices. These can be quite costly affairs. Always ask to see a brochure and price list before you decide. It might be worth contacting more than one to compare prices. We have a list of local Directors; you can obtain this from the Bereavement Officer. Some families wish to conduct their own funerals. To get more advice about arranging the funeral yourself contact or Tel: 08712 882098, the Bereavement Officer will be able to give you a brief outline of what is required.
The website is full of very useful information, on matters around after-death care.

After the Funeral
Settling the deceased person’s estate can be confusing, time-consuming and distressing. If there is a Will these wishes should be carried out. You may need to use the services of a solicitor. However Probate is possible to do yourself. To do list: this is a guide, it is not definitive.
*Denotes services cancelled by “Tell us once”.

Counselling and Advice
People react to a death in many different ways. Some find it hard to talk about the experience, some find it helps. Some people feel guilty or even angry. Some people work through their grief quicker than others. We all cope differently, and because of this you need to respect other people’s feelings and just be aware that it is their way of coping. If you need help to come to terms with your sadness and feel that outside help may be of use see contact list for names and numbers. Most important of all will be your own memories.

Looking after Yourself
The death of a family member or a friend can arouse emotional responses that you may not have experienced before. Here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful:

Allow yourself time to rest, think and sleep
Make time with family and friends
Eat regularly
Try to avoid making any major decisions too quickly
Keep to a routine to help you get through one day at a time
Schedule activities to get you through the worst times
Accept your feelings as normal.
Vent your feelings (talking, crying, writing, physical exercise, listening to music, compiling an album or box of memories)
Most importantly be patient, kind and gentle with yourself
Members of your caring team who are here to help you.

Contact List
Sue Ferrara (Bleep 1917) 01908 996155 Ans
Tina John (Bleep 1783) 01908 996154 Ans
Chaplaincy 01908 996061 Ans
We are all available on our bleeps during normal working hours, please contact the switchboard and ask for us by name.
Hospital Switchboard 01908 660033

Helpful Organisations
MK Bereavement Counselling Service
(Answer phone for the above) 07483 308032
Samaritans 116123
Cruse helpline will give you local numbers 0808 8081677
Child Bereavement Charity 01908 550895 or Free Phone No 08000 288840
Lesbian &Gay Bereavement project
0208 2000 511
RoadPeace 0845 450 0355
Silverline 0800 48090
MK Bereaved Parents Group 079177 43816

He is Gone’

You can shed tears because he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes,
love and go on.


“Tell us once.”
A service provided at the Register Office.

How the service can help you.
When someone has died there are lots of things that need to be done at a time when you are least likely to want to do it. The death needs to be registered with the Registrar and once registration is complete, several Government organisations have to be contacted and given the same information. The Registrar will provide a letter containing a unique reference number and contact details to
enable this to be done by phone or 24/7 on line. It saves you having to repeat yourself with all the personal details as services can access

Register documentation.
This service can be used up to 28 days after the death is registered.

Comments, Compliments or Complaints
Following this time of sadness, we invite any of your comments with regards to your relative’s end-of-life care, so that we can learn and develop our service. Please use the Freepost at the bottom of the page. If you could tell us the ward area and name of your relative that would be helpful but this information is not essential.

Attention of Sue Ferrara. Bereavement Manager
Milton Keynes University Hospital
NHS Foundation Trust
Standing Way, Eaglestone
Milton Keynes