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Registering a death

Death certification review service

Arrangements for the certification and registration of deaths in Scotland changed in 2015.

One of the main changes was the establishment of the Death Certification Review Service which is run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. The review service checks on the accuracy of a sample of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCD or Form 11). This is the form a doctor completes when someone has died. If there are any issues with the form, for example it hasn't been fully completed or signed by the doctor, this will result in a delay to the registration of the death and you will need to return to the doctor to have it completed.

If the death you are registering is selected for review you may not be able to complete the death registration immediately. The registrar will explain the review process and timescales and will contact you when the review is complete. You can still make initial funeral arrangements while the review is underway. However, the funeral itself cannot take place until the review is completed and a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) is produced. The Certificate of Death (Form 14) will be emailed to the person arranging the funeral to allow the funeral to go ahead.

If you need the funeral to go ahead quickly, in special circumstances you may be granted an advanced registration. If you want to make an application for an advanced registration, please tell the registrar. 

The reviews are designed to:
  • improve the accuracy of MCCDs
  • provide better quality information about causes of death so that health services can be better prepared for the future
  • ensure that the processes around death certification are robust and have appropriate safeguards in place

For more information see the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website.

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