MPS article on death certification

1st January 1970 by Rachel Birch

MPS article on death certification

Dr L had just started a two week locum for Dr B in a semi-rural two-doctor practice in England. Dr B had been visiting Mr S fortnightly, a frail patient with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ischaemic heart disease. Mr S’s wife telephoned the practice first thing and asked for a doctor to visit, as she had just discovered her husband dead in bed.

Dr L was the only doctor available that morning. She visited Mrs S and offered support. She examined Mr S and confirmed his death.
Later that day Mr S’s daughter contacted the surgery and asked Dr L to complete a death certificate for her father. Dr L hadn’t treated the patient before, and spoke with Dr A, the other GP partner. He hadn’t seen the patient for 2 years and felt he couldn’t complete the death certificate.
Guidance

This scenario is not uncommon and can present sessional GPs with some concern. It is important to draw a distinction between confirming that a patient is dead (which any GP may do) and completing the death certificate.
The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) should be completed in a timely manner, to enable the family to register the death and make arrangements for a burial or cremation. However, there is guidance on the circumstances when a doctor may issue a death certificate.

Read for free

Sign up to access everything.

Free trial

Login

Already a member? Login to view this content.

Login

"We’ve worked with the NASGP now for over a decade, and have always been impressed with their commitment to promoting a really productive working relationship between practices and GP locums, with the ultimate aim of making sure patients receive the best care, no matter which GP they see."

Lynda Cox, Practice Cover

Lynda Cox, Practice Cover

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

Membership