On behalf of all of the staff involved in caring for your loved one whilst they were in hospital, we wish to express our sincere condolences to you at this extremely difficult time.
When someone dies there are many things to do which you may not be familiar with, often at a time of great personal distress. Our experienced Bereavement Centre team provide information and advice to guide you through the practical issues you or your family may have to deal with at this time, such as how to register a death and arrange a funeral.
Following the death of your loved one, please telephone the Bereavement Centre after 9am the next working day. A member of the team will talk you through what to expect in the coming days.
You can contact the Bereavement Centre by:-
Royal Stoke University Hospital: 01782 676323
County Hospital: 01785 230532
Email (both sites)
You will be asked the following questions about your loved one:-
- Their main occupation, and whether there was an industrial background / industrial injuries benefit or pension
- Did they smoke?
- Will the funeral be a burial or cremation?
- Have you decided on a Funeral Director?
- Do you have any concerns about the circumstances or cause of death?
We will arrange for one of the doctors involved in caring for your loved one to complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (medical certificate) as soon as possible. Whilst the hospital will make every effort to provide the medical certificate as quickly as possible, this can sometimes take a number of days.
Once the medical certificate has been completed, we email a copy to the local Registration Service. You do not need to collect the paper copy from the hospital. We will call you to let you know when the paperwork has been completed, and advise you on how to make an appointment to register the death.
Medical Examiners are experienced, senior doctors, who review the care that your loved one received. They are trained in the legal and clinical elements of the death certification process. They are contracted to carry out this duty independent of their usual clinical role.
The aim of the service is to:-
- Agree the cause of death and the overall accuracy of the medical certificate with the attending doctor
- Discuss the cause of death with the next of kin/bereaved relatives, to establish if there are any questions or concerns about the death
- Identify any issues with care or treatment requiring further review under relevant mortality review, clinical governance and Learning from Deaths programmes
The Medical Examiner Service will listen to any concerns, and if possible, provide answers to questions from the bereaved. Medical Examiners can detect and highlight potential issues with care or treatment, but they cannot investigate. Deaths that require investigation would be referred to the Coroner.
A member of our Bereavement Centre team will provide more information about the service, and answer any questions that you may have. The Medical Examiner’s review will not cause a significant delay to the doctor issuing the medical certificate.
In some circumstances, it may be necessary to refer your loved one’s death to His Majesty’s Coroner. There are very strict legal requirements about which deaths should be referred to the Coroner, which cannot be disputed.
Referral to the Coroner doesn’t need to be a cause for concern, although you should be aware that a referral to the Coroner will delay the process of issuing the medical certificate. Your loved one will remain in the care of the hospital mortuary team until the Coroner has made a decision.
After reviewing the circumstances of death, the Coroner will decide on one of the following options:-
- The death is due to natural causes and the doctor can issue a medical certificate
- A post mortem examination is required to establish the cause of death
- The doctor can give a cause of death, but the circumstances of death were unnatural or require further investigation. An inquest without post mortem will be held
The Bereavement Centre team will call you to explain the Coroner’s decision. If necessary, your contact details will be provided to a Coroner’s Officer who will contact you at the earliest opportunity to discuss the process and take details from you, to assist with the Coroner’s investigation.
Royal Stoke University Hospital (External web link) - https://www.rns.uk/royal-stoke-university-hospital-29271
County Hospital, Stafford (External web link) - https://www.rns.uk/the-county-hospital-staffordshire-27284
Royal Stoke University Hospital
The Bereavement Centre at Royal Stoke is located on the ground floor of the Main Building. We are in the corridor that leads to the wards, opposite WHSmith and Costa Coffee to the right of the Main Atrium.
Office opening hours: From 9:00am until 4:00pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed on weekends and bank holidays.
Telephone number: 01782 676323 or email: email@example.com
County Hospital, Stafford
The Bereavement Centre at County Hospital is not open to the public.
Telephone lines are open: From 9:00am until 4:00pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed on weekends and bank holidays.
Telephone number: 01785 230532 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org