Support Service


Please accept our sincere condolences if you are visiting this site following the loss of a relative or friend. When someone you care about dies, even if it was expected, it is often hard to take in.

Our Bereavement Officers will offer you help, advice and guide you through the processes following the loss of a loved one. They will:

  • Co-ordinate the completion of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and relevant paperwork, we aim to complete this within five working days

  • Advise if a death is referred to the Coroner

  • Provide you with information on how to register the death

  • Look after and arrange collection of the deceased’s property

  • Liaise with outside agencies as appropriate – GP’s, Coroner’s office, Funeral Directors, Registry Office etc.

  • Offer you some resources if you feel you need some support.

You may have received a letter from the ward with information about this process.

Download our bereavement process letter

At this stage, please do not book an appointment with the Registers Office. Please do not do this until you have been advised the MCCD is ready.

To help us with this process we will need from you:

  • The name and contact details of the person who will be registering the death and organising the funeral.

  • Whether you will be arranging a burial or a cremation for the deceased

  • The name of the funeral director you will be asking to look after your loved one.

Contact our Bereavement Office

Please call the Bereavement Office at the hospital your loved one died, when you are ready, to provide the above information. We will not call you for the first day or two. 

The Bereavement offices are open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) to take calls. Please note our phone lines can be very busy at times, if you are unable to get through, or it is after office hours, please leave a message on our answerphone with your name, telephone number and your enquiry. A member of the Bereavement team will respond to your message as soon as they are available to do so. You can also email us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can contact the Bereavement teams via:

Medical Examiners Service

As part of the process you will receive a phone call from a Medical Examiner Officer (MEO), who is independent of the trust. The Medical Examiner Service is a national initiative to enable an independent review of all deaths by a senior doctor or consultant in all hospital Trusts and GP practices. This is routine and not a cause for concern. The Medical Examiner Service will :

  • Make sure the bereaved receive a better service by giving them opportunity to raise any concerns about the care and/or death of their relative by an independent, impartial party not involved in the care of the deceased

  • Provide better safeguards, ensuring complete scrutiny of all deaths and to improve the quality of the MCCD by making sure they are accurate and true

  • Ensure deaths that should be referred to the Coroner are referred appropriately in the required timescale.

If no Coroner’s referral is needed and the cause of death is agreed, the doctors within our hospital will complete the MCCD. We aim to complete this within five working days (Monday-Friday, excluding bank holidays) from the day we receive the notification. 

Coroner’s Office

There are occasions when a patient’s death will need to be referred to the Coroner’s Office.  The main reasons to report a death are:

  • A recent operation/procedure was performed

  • Death from industrial disease

  • Any suspicious, violent or un-natural death

  • Any drug/medication related deaths

  • The doctor wishes to discuss the case

  • The cause of death is unknown

  • Other reasons.

The Coroner’s Office will decide what action they take, based on the information provided by our hospital doctors.  Reporting a death to the Coroner’s Office may not always result in a post-mortem, if one is required, the Coroner’s Officer will contact the family to explain the reasons why.

If there is no post mortem, we will be advised by the Coroner’s Office the cause of death agreed by the Coroner. The doctors within our hospital will then complete the MCCD and cremation papers, if needed.

A post-mortem will unfortunately delay you making arrangements for a funeral service. The Coroner’s Officers will give an approximate time scale.

Once the post-mortem is completed, all paperwork will be sent by the Coroner’s Office directly to the Register Office and you will be telephoned to complete the registration. The Coroner’s Officer will let the family know when the paperwork has been passed to the Register’s Office.

For the Coroner’s Office enquiries please contact via:

You may also find the Government's guide to coroner service leaflet useful.

Cremation or burial

We will need to know what the deceased’s wishes or your family would like to happen.  If a cremation is decided, the hospital doctors will also complete the necessary form needed.  When completed the funeral director will be to collect this paperwork from our mortuary team. 


The ward may have already given you your loved one’s belongings. However, if the Bereavement Office have received any belongings, we will contact you to arrange for these to be returned to you at your home, or for you to collect them.  The Bereavement Office will discuss the arrangements with you. 

Registering a death

Once you have been informed by the Bereavement Office the MCCD has been completed and sent to the register office, you will be able to make an appointment to register. The Register Office advise to only book an appointment if the hospital has made you aware that the MCCD has been sent to them.

To book an appointment to register a death, you must be either:

  • A relative of the deceased

  • A person who was present at the death

  • An administrator from the hospital where the person died

  • A person arranging the funeral with the funeral director.

In order to register, the registrar will need to know:

  • Date and place of death

  • Usual address of deceased

  • Full names and surname (and maiden name if the deceased was a woman who had married)

  • Date and place of birth

  • Occupation (This was their most recent occupation, prior to retirement or illness)

  • Marital status

  • The name of the deceased’s spouse or civil partner.

Once the death is registered, the Registers Office will provide you with:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (form 9) a green form to give to the funeral director. If the death has been referred to the coroner and the funeral is a cremation, the equivalent form will be sent by the coroner to your funeral director

  • A certificate of registration of death (BD8 form) a white form to be completed and sent by you, with any benefit or pension details to the Department of Work and Pensions.  Copies of the original death certificate can be purchased at £11.00 each on the day of registration, using a card or cash.

How to arrange an appointment

Tel: 03000 41 51 51

Register a death on the Kent County Council website

We will phone you to let you know we have sent the MCCD to the Register’s Office. 

Further support

Bereavement is never easy and everyone’s experience is different, when someone you care about dies, even if it was expected.

If you would like some help and support coping with your loss, the Bereavement Services team can provide you with some information, please do ask. Here are some resources which may help you:

Once again we would like to pass on our condolences, to you and your family following your loss.

For more information and advice, please take a look at the information on each organisation’s website or contact one of the Bereavement Offices.