The Bereavement Service
Our aim is to guide and support bereaved families through what is a very distressing and emotional time, offering advice and information to help ease them through the processes following a death.
The Bereavement Office will:
- Help to co-ordinate the completion of the death certificate and relevant paperwork
- Keep relatives informed throughout proceedings and most importantly, offer a listening ear
- Arrange to electronically send relatives a copy of the death certificate, useful support information and release paper
- Look after the deceased patient’s property and hand this back to the relatives
- Liaise with any outside agencies as appropriate – Coroner and Coroners’ Officers, Funeral Directors, Registry Office, Crematoria, GP’s etc
The Medical Examiner Service
The Medical Examiner Service is a national initiative to enable independent review of all deaths by a senior doctor or consultant in all hospital Trusts.
The Medical Examiner Service will :
- Make sure the bereaved receive a better service by giving them opportunity to raise any concerns about the care and/or death of their relative by an independent, impartial party not involved in the care of the deceased
- Provide better safeguards, ensuring complete scrutiny of all non-coronial deaths and to improve the quality of death certification by making sure they are accurate and true to cause
- Ensure deaths that should be referred to the coroner are referred appropriately in the required timescale
This service will also allow the family first access to the wording on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and to ask further questions to understand clearly what happened to their relative. Once this process is complete, all paperwork is passed to the Bereavement Team.
Download our practical guides following a bereavement:
- Following a bereavement: a practical guide for family and friends Maidstone Hospital
- Following a bereavement: a practical guide for family and friends Tunbridge Wells Hospital
Free tribute service for bereaved relatives
MuchLoved is a charity website where you can create a free personal tribute to your loved one, find support and grief resources, create a fundraising tribute and post a funeral details notice, etc. if you wish to.
Privacy is protected and you can have just family and friends who are able to access, or, make it an open tribute. MuchLoved offers a varied selection of tribute styles to suit all families.
Advice and information
When a death occurs on a ward, all relatives will be given a Trust booklet entitled ‘Following a Bereavement’. This booklet is an easy guide to what happens next and who you have to contact for information regarding deceased loved ones. Call the Bereavement Office after 10am on the next working day following the death and they will be able to assist you.
Registering a death
A death has to be registered with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths and this has to be within five working days. Once you have confirmation from the Bereavement Office the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been completed, you can call to make an appointment to register the death. More information is available at www.kent.gov.uk.
Download registering a death for additional information
Sometimes a death is referred to the Coroner for a post mortem/further investigation, delaying the essential paperwork. This occurrence will be advised either by the doctor on the ward, or the Medical Examiner Officer when you have contacted them in the hospital; they will then be able to give further information.
Download deaths referred to the coroner’s office for additional information.
As we live in a society of diverse ethnicity, we make every effort to respect the religious and cultural wishes of all families and we work very closely with the Chaplaincy Team within the Trust who can provide appropriate spiritual and pastoral care.
Advice for viewings
Relatives are recommended to arrange viewings of their loved ones at their chosen Funeral Director for more ambient surroundings, availability and ease.
The Mortuary in the hospital is a clinical area and not as comfortable as a funeral home for viewings, therefore only in exceptional circumstances would there be possible availability to accommodate a viewing in the Mortuary. Please make contact on the Bereavement telephone numbers for advice.
Deaths referred to the coroner's office
There are occasions when a death will have to be referred to the coroner’s office and may end in a post-mortem being carried out.
The main reasons to report a death are:
- A recent operation/procedure was performed
- Death from industrial disease
- Any suspicious, violent or un-natural death
- Any drug/medication related deaths
- The doctor wishes to discuss the case
- Cause of death unknown
- Other reasons
Reporting a death to the coroner’s office may not always result in a post-mortem but if one is required, the coroner’s officer will contact the family to explain the reasons why.
A post-mortem will unfortunately delay the funeral service (an approximate time scale will be advised by the Coroner’s officers).
Once the post-mortem is completed, all paperwork will be sent to the register office and you will be telephoned to complete the registration (the coroner’s officer will let the family know when it is ready).
Registering a death
Once you have been informed by the Bereavement Office that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been completed and sent to the register office, you will be able to make an appointment to register.
Information required to register
In order to register, the registrar will need to know:
- Date and place of death and usual address of deceased
- Full names and surname (and maiden name if the deceased was a woman who had married)
- Date and place of birth
- Occupation (and, if applicable, the name and occupation of the deceased’s spouse or civil partner)
- Whether he or she was receiving a pension/allowance from public funds
- If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving spouse or civil partner.
Once registered, copies of the original death certificate can be purchased at £11.00 each on the day of registration, using a card/cash.
Contact us and find us
- Maidstone Hospital: located on the ground floor, in the green zone. Open 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday. Contact 01622 224251
- Tunbridge Wells Hospital: located on the ground floor, just off main reception. Open 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday. Contact 01892 632923