Registering a death

Death certification review service

New arrangements for the certification and registration of deaths in Scotland have been introduced which may mean that you need to visit to the registration office before the registration can be completed.

One of the main changes is 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. This can be collected from the registrar or sent to you or sent direct 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 when you attend to register the death. You will need to fill in an advanced registration application form but it is not essential to complete this before attending the registration office.

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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