Which deaths must be reported to the Coroner?
About half of all deaths are not reported to the Coroner at all, as a doctor is able to provide a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. This is a document which allows the death to be registered. There are strict rules governing when a doctor may do this. They must know what illness caused the patient's death and must have seen and treated them for that illness within the 28 days before they died. The doctor is required to refer to the Coroner if they can’t certify that they have either seen the deceased within the 28 days before they died or after death. These rules are in place to safeguard patients and ensure that death reporting and registration is accurate.
If there is no doctor available who can issue this certificate, the death must be reported to the Coroner.
There are several other types of death that must always be reported:
- All deaths of children and young people under 18, even if due to natural causes. This is for safeguarding purposes.
- Deaths that may be linked to medical treatment, surgery or anaesthetic
- Deaths that may be linked to an accident, however long ago it happened
- If there is a possibility that the person took their own life
- If there are any suspicious circumstances or history of violence
- Deaths that may be linked to the person's occupation, for example if they have been exposed to asbestos
- All deaths of people who are in custody or detained under the Mental Health Act even if due to natural causes
- Some unusual illnesses including hepatitis and tuberculosis
If you are still unclear why your relative's death has been reported, please call us and an Officer will discuss it with you.
Reports are made mainly by doctors and the Police. When we receive a report in the office, it is given to the Coroner. He will review the information and decide what should be done. The next sections cover the different possibilities.