What is a Medical Certificate of Death (MCCD)

If the death was expected, the cause of death has to be determined by a medical professional and recorded on an official document called a medical certificate of death (MCCD). A copy of the medical certificate will need to be sent to the relevant Registrar Office before you can register the death.

The cause of death is usually contained on the MCCD and written using formal medical terminology, stating the main cause and other conditions that have contributed to the death. If it is clear why the person died, and it was from natural causes, it should be simple for a doctor to determine the cause of death and issue the medical certificate straightaway.

However, if the doctor is unsure about the cause of death or has not seen the patient for 28 days, they will not be able to issue the medical certificate immediately. In these cases, the doctor must report the death to a coroner.

If the coroner establishes no need to investigate, the doctor can then issue the medical certificate. If the coroner decides that a post-mortem examination is needed to determine the cause of death, this will be carried out and the relevant documents will then be passed to the registrar in due course.

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