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What to do after a death in Scotland ... practical advice for times of bereavement: 11th Edition

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3. GETTING A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

If someone dies at home

If death occurs during the night and is sudden and unexpected, the doctor should be notified at once. Otherwise you can call the doctor in the morning.

The doctor will:

either issue a medical certificate of cause of death (Form 11) needed by the registrar, provided that there are no unusual circumstances. If the body is to be cremated, the doctor will arrange for the signature of the second doctor required to complete the cremation certificate. Doctors charge fees for providing cremation certificates;

or in some cases, report the death to the Procurator Fiscal (see section 4).

If someone dies in hospital

The hospital will:

either issue a medical certificate of cause of death (Form 11) needed by the registrar, provided the cause of death is quite clear. The hospital staff may ask you to consider authorising a post-mortem examination if that would provide valuable information about the person's final illness or treatment which could help other people;

or in some cases, report the death to the Procurator Fiscal (see section 4).

Should you wish more information about hospital post-mortem examination, leaflets are available from the hospital.

Note: If the actual time of death is not known, the doctor may estimate the time of death.