Getting a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

Information on how to get a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

Last updated: 6 June 2017

If your loved one died in hospital and the doctor can be sure of the cause of death, you will be issued with a medical certificate of cause of death. This is usually given to you in an envelope containing information about how to register the death.

If your loved one died at home but the death was expected, their GP may be able to issue the certificate, as long as they recently saw your loved one. They may give you the certificate in person, or you may be asked to collect the certificate from the GP surgery.

What to do next

Once you have the medical certificate of cause of death has been issued, you will need to register the death and get the Death Certificate.

When a certificate cannot be issued

In some cases, a doctor will not be able to give you a medical certificate of cause of death. This may be because the cause of death, or circumstances surrounding the death, are uncertain.

When the doctor is unable to issue a medical certificate of cause of death, they will refer the case to the coroner. The coroner will then investigate the death. They may require a post-mortem or, if the cause still cannot be determined, a coroner’s inquest.

You will not be able to register the death until the coroner has concluded their investigations. However, the coroner will usually issue an interim death certificate so that the funeral can go ahead and probate can be granted.