This advice aims to provide useful help and advice to assist families during the early days of a bereavement and links to useful advice. 

The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust seeks to meet the needs of all members of our community when someone close to them has died. If you have any religious, cultural or other needs, please tell us.

Contact us

Please contact the Bereavement Service Office:

George Eliot Hospital

Telephone: 024 76865102   Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.00pm

Grief is a very personal experience. What you experience in your grief is particular and specific to you. There are no rules or a ‘correct’ way to grieve. However, there are some feelings which are commonly experienced in grief. These notes may help you to understand your experience but it is not an exclusive list and you may not feel every one of these emotions.

Grief is complicated and can be a very frightening experience. You may have periods of confusion and/or forgetfulness. Some people feel numb or that they have low energy or limited motivation to complete normal  daily activities. Please be kind to yourself: Maybe reduce the number or size of the tasks which you expect of yourself and allow yourself a little more time to complete jobs.

Some other very common feelings within your grief may be a feeling of anger. These feelings of anger may be expressed in many ways; towards the person who has died for leaving you or at others, such as family members, health care professionals or your own personal beliefs, leaving you with a feeling that you were unable to prevent the person from dying.

Some people feel relief that their loved one is no longer struggling in pain and others have difficulty accepting the loss and so have a sense of denial at the events surrounding the illness and/or death. There are often feelings of guilt for many different things said, done or left undone. Many people report that they feel an intense feeling of injustice and unfairness at their loss.

There is also no particular order to these feelings and you may not experience them all. It is important to know that there is no set time-frame for feelings of grief, nor a time-limit. The old saying that ‘Time heals’ does not always feel as if it applies in grief: It is possible that the swells of     feeling which you experience will remain at the same intensity, even if the frequency of these waves is likely to decrease over time. The deep    feelings of missing your loved one may continue for a very long time. Some people say that they continue to ‘see’ or ‘hear’ the one they have lost for what can feel like a lengthy period and others that they experience vivid dreams. If this happens to you, you may find it distressing but it is quite common. 

Advice and Support

It can sometimes be easier to talk to a stranger about things that you are going through than it is to talk to a person who is close to you. 

If you would like further information or support, our Bereavement Support Service is available. If you have questions that you would like to raise about the care of your loved one the Bereavement Support Services team can help to find the answers or arrange for you to meet one of the ME’s, doctors or nurses.  

You can contact them by email: or phone: 024 76865102  

The Trust offers a Counseling service which provides an opportunity to talk through what matters to you following your bereavement. The  counseling service is available by appointment Monday – Friday,  8.30am – 4.30pm.   

You may also wish to talk to a hospital chaplain. We have chaplains and volunteers from a variety of religious faiths and denominations.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by email or phone:


Phone: 024 76865046 (in hours), 024 76351351 (out of hours through switchboard) 

The Chapel is on the ground floor past the x-ray department.  It is a peaceful place and always open.  There is a book for writing prayer requests and a place to light a candle.  We also have a Book of Remembrance and we can arrange for you to have your loved ones name added by a professional calligrapher.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a service run by the hospitals to provide advice and help. You can also contact them if you wish to raise a concern or make a complaint about the care you loved one received.

You can contact PALS as follows:


Phone: 024 76351351

Patient Advice and Liaison Service, George Eliot Hospital, College Street, Nuneaton, CV11 7DJ

  • AGE UK Coventry & Warwickshire offers information and advice to older people and their carers
  • ASSIST TRAUMA CARE provides a therapeutic service for family  members traumatised as the result of homicide of a loved one.
  • CHILD BEREAVEMENT CHARITY supports families when a baby or child of any age dies.
  • CITIZEN’S ADVICE BUREAU (NUNEATON & BEDWORTH) providing an information only service on a range of subjects such as legal issues and health.
  • COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS peer support group offering different kinds of support for bereaved families.
  • CRUSE BEREAVEMENT CARE acts as a listening service for those or someone they know who has been affected by a death. They provide  information on practical and financial matters and details of groups available.
  • MACMILLAN offers an online support community. Macmillan also have an information centre based at the entrance of George Eliot Hospital.
  • MARY ANN FAMILY SUPPORT & BEREAVEMENT SERVICE provides confidential and high quality emotional support to individuals and their family members and friends. 
  • PATIENT ADVICE & LIAISON SERVICE providing help and advice for patient, relatives and carers.
  • SOPHIA parent support group for families that have experienced a pregnancy loss.
  • STILLBIRTH AND NEONATAL DEATH CHARITY (SANDS) offers  support for anyone affected by the death of a baby.
  • SURVIVORS OF BEREAVEMENT BY SUICIDE is a self-help group that offers support to families and friends of those who have committed suicide.
  • THE COUNSELLING DIRECTORY helps people to find a private counsellor.
  • THE GOOD GRIEF TRUST provides practical help and advice to newly bereaved.
  • THE SAMARITANS are available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.
  • THE VICTIM SUPPORT GROUP offers emotional and practical support to those who have been bereaved due to a crime that has been committed.
  • WIDOWED AND YOUNG is a self-help group created to offer support for those bereaved who are under 50. Their website offers helpful information about talking to children, the practicalities of planning the funeral and its aftermath. There is also the opportunity to join the organisation.

Remember, people want to help. If you need to know how and where to find help, our hospital staff will be pleased to assist you.

Following the death of a relative or friend in hospital there are certain things which need to be done.

You will need to contact the hospital Bereavement Services Office on 024 7686 5102.

You will need to contact a funeral director. You don’t have to wait until the "Death Certificate" is issued before doing this. However, please check that you will be able to collect the "Medical Certificate of Cause of Death" from the hospital before setting a firm date for the funeral. This is because it is sometimes necessary for the Coroner to become involved.

Before finalising the funeral arrangements you should find out if the deceased made a Will and consult the solicitors who hold it (where applicable), to see what the deceased’s wishes were regarding funeral arrangements. The Will also provides the names of the executors or the persons legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate. The solicitors will assist you with the administration of the estate and any questions relating to tax issues that may arise.

The Bereavement Services Office is here to help you with the paperwork. Our contact number is 02476 865 102.

When someone dies in hospital there is paperwork that needs to be completed to comply with the law. 

All deaths need to be registered and for this the relatives need to make an appointment with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and take the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death that will have been given to them by the hospital to the Registrar’s office.

Please do not book an appointment to register until the Medical Certificate is completed. The Registrar then issues a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate and will also give the family a green form, which needs to be handed to the funeral director. If the deceased is to be buried, this is the only paperwork needed.

If a cremation is to take place, there are additional forms to be  completed. These forms are completed by doctors at the hospital and are then given to the funeral director. The forms are in two parts:

  • The doctor who completes the Certificate of the Medical Cause of Death fills in the first part of the form.
  • Another doctor who has not been involved in the care of the deceased fills in the second part. This doctor has to speak to the first doctor and either the family of the deceased or someone involved in the deceased’s care such as a nurse. The second doctor is usually one of the hospitals’ Medical Examiners (see Medical Examiner section for explanation)

The Bereavement Services Office works alongside the relevant professionals to ensure the timely completion of these forms, but is dependent on the availability of eligible doctors. Once all the cremation paperwork is completed, Bereavement Services will liaise with your funeral director so that the deceased patient can be taken into their care.

The cremation papers are handed directly to the funeral director who will then take them to the chosen crematorium for checking by an independent medical referee.

Nuneaton crematorium requires the papers at least 48 hours before the funeral is due to take place. Please liaise with your chosen Funeral Director to ensure the paperwork is completed to avoid the risk of the funeral not being able to go ahead.

You will need to collect a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death  from the Bereavement Services Office in the hospital where the death occurred. Property is sent with the funeral director when they collect the patient and not left in the bereavement office.

The George Eliot Hospital Bereavement Services Offices can be contacted Monday - Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) and staff will be pleased to help and advise you as to the time the certificate and property will be available for collection.

If large amounts of money have been entrusted to the hospital for safekeeping, this will have to be banked and will be returned to the next of kin via the funeral director or alternatively to the deceased’s solicitor or executor of the Will.

Before coming to the hospital please call Bereavement Services. We aim to have everything completed as quickly as possible but there are sometimes delays which we cannot control.

The Bereavement Services Officer will need to know:

  • The full name of the deceased
  • Your relationship to the deceased
  • If known, whether the funeral is to be a burial or cremation (where there is a Will you can check this for instructions)
  • Your contact telephone number (if you have one)

If the death certificate is given to you at the hospital, you will need to make an appointment to register the death. When you have the death certificate, you will need to make an appointment at the Registry Office, usually within five working days. The address of the Nuneaton Registry Office is:

Riversley Park, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5HA

Tel. 0300 555 0255

The following documents are helpful to take with you when registering, but if you do not have these, it will not stop the registration going ahead.

  • Medical Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate

Following completion of the registration, you will be given:

  • A green form
  • Department of Social Security Form (if in receipt of a pension or allowance)

There is a charge for each certificate you obtain. These may be needed for bank and insurance purposes.

Tell us Once

When someone dies it can be an upsetting and stressful time. The Tell Us Once programme reduces the amount of time you need to spend contacting government department and organisations, because you  provide all of the information to the Registrar at the end of the death registration appointment. This information is then forwarded on to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) who will then inform the relevant government departments.

Alternatively you may wish to ring DWP yourself following your death registration appointment. If this is the case your Registrar will provide you with the telephone number.

Who May Go and Register a Death?

Regulations state that only certain people can register a death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages:

  • A relative of the deceased who was present at the time of death.
  • A relative of the deceased, in attendance during the last illness.
  • A relative of the deceased residing in the same local district.
  • A person present at the time of death.
  • The occupier, e.g the Matron or Officer in Charge of a nursing home or rest home, provided they knew of the illness before the death.
  • The person arranging the funeral, e.g an executor, solicitor or  similar.

Your Visit to the Registry Office

The Registrar will give you:

“A Certificate for Burial or Cremation” (known as the "Green Form").

You will not receive this form if there is a Coroner's Inquest.

You will be able to purchase a Certified Copy of An Entry Certificate (Death Certificate), which is needed for any private pension claims,  insurance policies and financial matters; normally one or two copies would be sufficient.

“A Certificate of Registration of Death” (known as the "White Form"). This is for Social Security purposes only.

Tell Us Once

The Registrar will explain how you can use the “Tell Us Once” service to inform central and local Government departments about a death. This service will save you having to write or telephone each service individually. The Registrar will advise you which Government  departments can be notified 

Fees to correct Registration Entries

Please note that any changes to a registration once you have signed the register page will be subject to a Government enforced fee. Please be certain that the information you provide to the Registrar and spellings are correct at the time of registration.


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There are three main reasons why a case is referred to the Coroner:

  • A death has been sudden and unexpected.
  • A person has been ill but the doctor confirming the death is not certain why it happened at that particular time.
  • A death has been caused as a result of an accident or unusual circumstances 

The Coroner will look at the case and decide what happens next. He or she may request a post-mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death. The Coroner may give permission for the hospital Doctor to issue the Medical Cause of Death Certificate or an inquest may be required.

Where the death is reported to the Coroner, particularly when the GP has not been involved eg deaths in the hospital Emergency Department, then you may receive a visit from the Police. The reason for this is that Police officers also act as Coroner’s Officers and they will be visiting you

in order to gain further details of the deceased, next of kin etc, which they will pass on to the Coroner.

The staff at the Coroner’s Office are very helpful and will answer any questions you may have. They will contact you as soon as possible in  order to discuss details relating to your relative or friend.

The Coroner's office address

The Coroner’s Office Warwickshire Justice Centre
Newbold Terrace
Leamington Spa
CV32 4EL

Coroner’s Office Opening Hours

  • Monday to Friday 8.00am – 4.00pm
  • Weekends and Bank Holidays - Closed

Telephone: 02476 483525, 01926 684228, 01926 684065, 01926 684229

You will only need to visit the Coroner’s Office if you are asked to do so.

Provided that there is no Coroner’s involvement, you will be given the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a member of the hospital’s Bereavement Services Office staff. The Medical Certificate of Cause of death is not the formal Death Certificate. This is produced by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages when you register the death.

If the Coroner is involved, then the 5 days to register rule does not apply.

Occasionally a hospital doctor may request a post-mortem examination to be performed on the deceased. In order for this to take place consent must be obtained from the next of kin and a consent form completed. The doctor will explain the reason for the request. It is also possible for the next of kin to request that a post-mortem examination be performed. Again, a consent form must be completed before this can take place.

If you agree to, or request a post-mortem examination it would be advisable to inform your funeral director so that he/she can take this into account when arranging the funeral for you.

The doctor will still issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to enable you to register the death

All Hospital consented Post Mortems are carried out at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire, Clifford bridge Road, Coventry.

Medical examiners are senior NHS doctors who, after completing specialist training work part time in this role. Their job is to give an independent view on causes of death and the care provided (except for deaths which have to be investigated by a coroner). 

Medical examiners and their staff (usually called medical examiner officers) offer families and carers of the person who died an opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns about the causes of death, or about the care the person received before their death.  This will usually be through a telephone call, or sometimes a meeting. They can explain what medical language means, and make it easier to understand what happened.  Medical examiners also look at relevant medical records, and discuss the causes of death with the doctor who is completing the official form (known as the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death)

You can be confident medical examiners and medical examiner officers will provide an independent view. They will never look into the causes of death of a person they provided care for.

Medical Examiner information at George Eliot Hospital

Whilst we make every effort to provide an opportunity for you to view your loved one, the Trust only has one Chapel of Rest, therefore operate an appointment only system. This also ensures we provide an escort to assist you when visiting the Chapel of Rest.

Appointments can be made through the Bereavement Services Office, Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.00pm on 024 7686 5102.

Please do not come to the hospital to view your loved on without first making an appointment, as the chapel may already be in use and we would not want to add to your distress at this time.

Choosing a Funeral Director

The choice of a funeral director is important, as you should feel comfortable and confident with them.

If you need any support choosing a funeral director the National Association of Funeral Directors will be able to advise you (see the ‘Advice and Support’ section on page 17). Their code of practice is approved by the Office of Fair Trading.

You can ask any funeral director for an estimate of cost in advance of making any commitment to using their services. It is reasonable to ask for at least two firms to quote a cost for you to compare, as charges can vary considerably.


A deceased cannot be cremated until the cause of death is definitely known. There are certain forms that need to be completed but the Bereavement Services Office will organise this on your behalf. These forms are collected by your funeral director. The local authorities set the costs of the cremation forms.

Ashes can be scattered in a garden of remembrance or in a favorite place, although you will require permission from the landlord or person responsible for the land before doing this. Ashes can be buried in a churchyard or cemetery, or they can be kept.Your funeral director can organise this for you.


The cost of a grave space can vary. The costs will normally be higher for the burial of someone who lives outside the Council or Parish   boundary for the chosen cemetery. If a grave space has been paid for in a cemetery, there will be a Deed of Grant.

Your funeral director can advise you of the fees for a burial.

Financial Help

If you receive certain Social Security Benefits (for example, Income Support, Housing Benefit and others) you can apply to the Social Fund for help to pay for the costs of the funeral.

You will need to complete an Application Form SF200. This is available from your local Jobcentre Plus or by download from their website ( There is a leaflet included with the form, which explains how to complete it and where to send it.

There are various people and organisations that need to be told about the death. The following organisations will be informed if you use the “Tell Us Once” service:

  • The local Inland Revenue Office.
  • The local Social Security office to cancel pensions, allowances, benefits etc. You will get a special form from the Registrar’s Office to do this.
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Return the Driving Licence to the address on the licence.
  • Passport Office. Return the passport to the office.
  • Any library or clubs subscribed to by the deceased.
  • If the deceased was receiving Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit, the local housing department.

Others to inform include:

  • Solicitor. If there are any difficulties with legal issues or questions about the estate it is advisable to contact a solicitor or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
  • Local social services if meals on wheels, home help or day centre transport was used. Also, NHS equipment, British Red Cross equipment etc. may need returning.
  • Any hospital the deceased was attending for appointments.
  • The deceased's GP.
  • Bank/Building Society. If it is a joint account the partner can continue to draw cash. The Probate Office will advise on whether it is necessary to obtain Probate or Letters of Administration (see the ‘Advice and Support’ section).
  • Employer or college should be informed if a parent, brother, sister, grandparent or other close relative or friend has died.
  • Car insurance company. People driving a car insured in the deceased’s name are not legally insured.
  • Any clubs subscribed to by the deceased.
  • Gas, Electricity and Telecom companies, Royal Mail deliveries, local newsagent and milk deliveries (if applicable).
  • If the deceased was living in rented accommodation the council or private landlord should be informed.

  • Coroner - a public officer whose principal duty is to enquire into the cause of death where it has been sudden, unexpected or where there is reason to suppose that it might not be due to natural causes. 
  • Death Certificate - an official document issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages when the death is registered at the Registry Office. 
  • Funeral Director (also called undertaker) - someone whose business is preparing the body for burial or cremation and arranging and managing funerals.
  • GP - abbreviation for General Practitioner, the family doctor.
  • Green Form - the certificate which authorises the funeral director to carry out the burial or cremation.
  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death - an official document issued by a doctor, stating the date, place and cause of a person’s death.
  • Medical Examiner - a senior doctor (consultant) who looks at the medical notes and talks to the deceased’s family to see if any lessons can be learnt from the patient’s care.
  • Post Mortem Examination - an examination of the body after death to determine the cause of death.
  • Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages - an official recorder of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
  • Will - a legal declaration of the manner in which somebody wishes to have their property disposed of after their death.

Please Note

Families should no longer collect the certificate from the Bereavement Office. They are completed by the doctor. The bereavement service scan the document and send this to the Registry Office.

The Registry Office then contact the named next of kin to make an appointment for them to visit the Registry office. The relevant paperwork is then sent to the Funeral Directors which enable them to collect the patient from the Mortuary.

Updated March 2023