Bereavement services

Bereavement Services 

The death of someone close to you is possibly one of the most distressing events that can happen. At the moment you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of finding yourself responsible for making the necessary arrangements. 

The hospital staff offer you their condolences and are ready to help with support and advice about some of the issues that you or your family may have to deal with at this time, such as registering the death and obtaining the death certificate. 

A copy of our Bereavement Booklet for each hospital can be viewed by clicking the images below:


EGH              STH

COVID-19 has been a very dificult time for many of patients and families in our community. The Palliative Care Team have put together a 'Time to remember' video to support those who have been bereaved in our local community. You can give this a watch below:

Bereavement services at Epsom Hospital

What to do first 

After someone dies there are a number of things which must be done. 

The following information may help you with the things that must be done within the first few days and the order in which to do them. 

Please contact the Bereavement Office before you come to the hospital, their telephone number is 01372 735273 - the office is open from 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday. It does not open on public holidays. 

Due to changes in the law under the Coronavirus Bill 2020 the Bereavement Officer will electronically send a copy of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to Surrey Register Office as deaths are now being registered via the telephone and not in person. The Surrey Register Office telephone number is 0300 200 1002. 

While the hospital will make every effort to provide the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death as quickly as possible please note that this may sometimes take a number of days. 

Regrettably it is currently not possible to see your loved one in the hospital chapel of rest but please contact the bereavement office as this may change. 

It is not advisable to book funeral dates until you have been advised that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued by the hospital. 

Patient’s Property 

Please ask ward staff about any property or valuable items 

The Coroner 

Under certain circumstances, for example if the death was sudden or unexpected or the cause of death has not been determined, a doctor will not be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. In such cases, the doctor must legally inform the Coroner. The involvement of the Coroner may cause some delay especially if a post mortem examination is required. If a death has been reported to a Coroner, you can still contact your chosen funeral director. The Surrey Coroner Office telephone number is 01483 404530. 

Medical Examiner Service 

You may be contacted by a Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer. The Medical Examiner will provide an independent view of causes of death and the care provided. 

Medical Examiners and their staff will discuss your thoughts, questions and concerns, and if they find issues with care that need further investigation, Medical Examiners will refer these to someone who can do this. A discussion, usually by telephone with a Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer provides you with an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with someone who was 

not involved in providing care to the person who died, and anything about the care that may be worrying or of concern. It could be as simple as helping you to understand more about the treatment and causes of death or to understand the medical language used, or there may be something about the care which did not feel right or ideal. This is an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. As well as answering your questions, this can help the NHS provide better care for other patients and carers in future, for example by uncovering ways in which patient and family care could be improved.

Bereavement services at St Helier Hospital

What to do first 

After someone dies there are a number of things which must be done. 

The following information may help you with the things that must be done within the first few days and the order in which to do them. 

Please contact the Bereavement Office before you come to the hospital, their telephone number is 020 8296 2491 - the office is open from 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday. It does not open on public holidays. 

Due to changes in the law under the Coronavirus Bill 2020 the Bereavement Officer will electronically send a copy of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to Sutton Register Office as deaths are now being registered via the telephone and not in person. The Sutton Register Office telephone number is 020 8770 6790. 

While the hospital will make every effort to provide the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death as quickly as possible please note that this may sometimes take a number of days. 

Regrettably it is currently not possible to see your loved one in the hospital chapel of rest but please contact the bereavement office as this may change. 

It is not advisable to book funeral dates until you have been advised that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued by the hospital. 

Patient’s Property 

Please ask ward staff about any property or valuable items 

The Coroner 

Under certain circumstances, for example if the death was sudden or unexpected or the cause of death has not been determined, a doctor will not be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. In such cases, the doctor must legally inform the Coroner. The involvement of the Coroner may cause some delay especially if a post mortem examination is required. If a death has been reported to a Coroner, you can still contact your chosen funeral director. The South London Coroner Office telephone number is 0208 313 1883. 

Medical Examiner Service 

You may be contacted by a Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer. The Medical Examiner will provide an independent view of causes of death and the care provided. 

Medical Examiners and their staff will discuss your thoughts, questions and concerns, and if they find issues with care that need further investigation, Medical Examiners will refer these to someone who can do this. A discussion, usually by telephone with a Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer provides you with an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with someone who was 

not involved in providing care to the person who died, and anything about the care that may be worrying or of concern. It could be as simple as helping you to understand more about the treatment and causes of death or to understand the medical language used, or there may be something about the care which did not feel right or ideal. This is an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. As well as answering your questions, this can help the NHS provide better care for other patients and carers in future, for example by uncovering ways in which patient and family care could be improved.

Helpful information

Who can register a death? 

The person to register the death is usually:

  • A relative of the deceased (whether or not they were present at the death) 

  • A person present at the death 

  • A person who is going to make the funeral arrangements. 

For more information, please telephone the register office. 

 

What will I need to know? 

  • When and where the death occurred 

  • The forenames and surname of the deceased (and maiden name if applicable) 

  • The date and place of birth and usual address 

  • The occupation (and if the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the name and occupation of the spouse or partner) 

  • If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving spouse or civil partner is also required 

  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds. 

 

Documentation issued by the Registrar 

  • Certificate for Burial or Cremation (green form). The Registrar will send this electronically to your chosen funeral director. 

  • Death Certificates. There is a fee payable for each certificate and the Registrar will be able to advise you about this 

  • Tell Us Once service. For further details please talk with the Registrar during your appointment. 

 

The Funeral 

It is advisable that you are in contact with the bereavement office before you begin to make funeral arrangements. Once you have registered the death the Register Office will electronically send the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (green form) to your chosen funeral director to allow them to transfer your deceased love one from the hospital to the funeral home with fewer delays. 

As prices vary considerably it is quite acceptable to contact more than one funeral director for a written quote for their services. The chosen funeral director should advise and help you arrange the funeral of your choice. It may be that the deceased has given instructions, either in a Will or to someone personally as to their last wishes. 

The choice of burial or cremation may also depend on cost or whether there is a family grave. The funeral director will arrange for a local priest, minister or other person of your choice to conduct the service. 

 

Help with funeral costs 

Funerals can be expensive. If you are on Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit you may be able to get help from the government to help pay for the funeral. Advice can be obtained from www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/how-to-claim or telephone 0800 731 0469.

Useful links

You may find the following organisations helpful in support following your bereavement:

 

CRUSE 

Cruse Bereavement Care, PO Box 800, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RG 

Bereavement helpline: 0808 808 1677 www.cruse.org.uk 

 

Private counselling services 

Names and addresses of private counselling services or individual counsellors can be found in public libraries, your local Citizen Advice Bureau or by contacting: 

The British Associationfor CounsellingandPsychotherapy 15 St John’s Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB Telephone: 01455 883300 Email: bacp@bacp.co.uk www.bacp.co.uk 

 

Religious and cultural groups 

Care for bereaved people is also offered by local religious or cultural communities. Help can be obtained by contacting the bereaved person’s local church, minister, religious or cultural representatives. 

 

Road Peace 

Unit F6, Shakespeare Business Centre, 245 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8RR 

Telephone: 0845 450 0355 www.roadpeace.org 

Support for those bereaved or injured as a result of a road crash. 

 

Samaritans 

The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell KT17 2AF 7 Church Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8AT 4b High Street, Reigate RH2 9AY 

Offers emotional support, befriending and a sympathetic ear for lonely, suicidal or despairing 

people of all ages. 

Telephone: 116 123 www.samaritans.org 

 

Terrence Higgins Trust 

314-320 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP 

Helpline: 0808 802 1221 www.tht.org.uk 

Offers individual bereavement counselling for anyone bereaved by HIV or AIDS. 

 

The Compassionate Friends 

Kilburn Grange, Priory Park Road, London NW6 7UJ 

Helpline: 0345 123 2304 www.tcf.org.uk 

Offers, emotional support and a befriending service for parents whose child of any age has died from any cause. Telephone number of the nearest representative is given on the helpline number. 

 

The Good Grief Trust

www.thegoodgrieftrust.org 

 

The Silver Line 

Tavis House, 1-6 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9NA 

Support for the over 55’s. 

Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90 www.thesilverline.org.uk 

 

Thrive LDN 

Support after sudden bereavement www.thriveldn.co.uk/bereavement/. 

 

The Lullaby Trust 

Support after a sudden, unexpected death of a baby or young child 

Bereavement support: 0808 802 6868 www.lullabytrust,org.uk 

 

Child Bereavement UK 

Support when a child dies or when a child grieves 

Helpline: 0800 02 888 40 www.childbereavementuk.org 

 

Winston’s Wish 

Charity for bereaved children 

Helpline: 08088 020 021 www.winstonswish.org 

 

Jigsaw4u 

Grief support for children and young people 

Telephone: 020 8687 1384 www.jigsaw4u.org.uk 

 

SANDS – stillbirth and neonatal death society 

Helpline: 0808 164 3332 

Email: helpline @sands.org.uk www.sands.org.uk 

 

 

Please note: The inclusion of any organisation in the above list should in no way be taken as a recommendation or endorsement of that organisation by Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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