We are sorry that you have experienced the loss of someone close to you and we would like to express our sincere sympathy to you and your family at this time. This guide aims to provide some practical advice to help you during the early days of your bereavement.
The following people will be able to help you during this time:
- Ward/unit staff where the person close to you died.
- The Medical Examiner is a senior doctor whose job it is to review the care the person close to you received.
- The Medical Examiner’s officer will support the medical examiner and you, ensuring the right process is in place.
You will be contacted by the Medical Examiners Office. They will give you an opportunity to talk through the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) and what this means, and ask if you have any questions or concerns. They will answer any questions and concerns and if needed arrange for you to be contacted by the ward team or by the PALS team (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
Telephone: 0800 0320202 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If the cause of death is uncertain, or due to a cause which requires liaison with the Coroner’s office, the medical examiner will inform you of this.
- Paying your last respects – hospital mortuary viewing room
If your relative has been transferred to a hospital mortuary and you wish to visit them you need to make an appointment. Please contact us on 0344 811 8111 and ask to speak to the mortuary reception to book your appointment. Appointments can usually be arranged Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm and each appointment is for 30 minutes. At Hexham General appointments are usually weekdays between 9am and 11:30am.
- From the time of death to the funeral
The Medical Examiners Office will contact you to give you guidance on what you should do next.
The Medical Examiners Officer and team, based at The Northumbria, Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals, are able to offer you some assistance if you require. You can contact them directly via telephone:
The Northumbria, Cramlington: 0191 6072271
Hexham General Hospital: 01434 655307
North Tyneside General Hospital: 0191 2934390
Wansbeck General Hospital: 01670 529399
- Funeral arrangements
You can contact a funeral director or company of your choice at any time. They will contact the hospital to make the necessary arrangements in accordance with your wishes. You may prefer not to use funeral directors and may choose to make other arrangements as long as this is within the law.
It may be helpful to think about preferences regarding the funeral service, for example hymns, flowers, religious/non-religious ceremony prior to meeting with the funeral director.
- Registration of death
All deaths must be registered with the registrar usually within five days of the death. You can register the death at the most convenient registrar for you in England and Wales. We advise to wait to hear from the Medical Examiners Office in relation to the paperwork before making an appointment and current process.
Northumberland Office: 0345 600 6400 press option: 4 then option 2.
More information is available on the website: www.northumberland.gov.uk
North Tyneside Office: 0191 643 6164.
More information is available on the website:
Further help during this time
Many people during a time of grief and bereavement struggle and feel they are not coping. These feelings are often within the normal range of grieving that is to be expected and most find ways of coping. However, there are some who may need further support especially if the death of someone close to them has been complex or traumatic. The following information is not exhaustive but intended to signpost you to organisations you may find helpful. Your G.P. and others within your local healthcare practice may be able to support you further as needed.
You may also struggle with how to support children in the family with news of a death. There are organisations that provide advice on supporting children:
- www.dyingmatters.org : leaflet no.5 ‘Talking about Dying with Children’
- www.macmillan.org.uk : search ‘Preparing a Child for Loss’
Organisations which offer support include
- The Macmillan Support Services provides emotional and social support to adults following any bereavement. To find out more information please contact the local offices on:
North Tyneside: 0191 2934377
Northumberland: 01670 855533
- Citizens Advice Bureau Advice line: 03444 111 444
- Samaritans offer a confidential 24 hour emotional support service.
Whatever you’re going through, call free any time, from any phone on: 116 123.
- Cruse Bereavement Care offers support after the death of someone close. The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9.30-17:00 (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, until 20:00:
National Helpline: 0808 808 1677
- GOV.UK – Step by Step Guide
- GOV.UK – For advice on death of a spouse
- Age UK Information and advice for older people.
National information line: 0800 055 6112
- Natural Death Centre Charity – Help, support, advice and guidance for planning a funeral
- Support for Young People
- Marie Curie – Support and advice for people caring for child who has experienced a bereavement.
- Child Bereavement UK Offers support and resources for families where a child or young person has died.
Support team telephone: 08000288840, open 9.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday.