Hospital staff are required by law to report to the Coroner those deaths that are sudden, due to violence, are unnatural, or of unknown cause.
In certain circumstances, this may mean that the police may be informed. This is standard procedure and is not a cause for concern.
The Coroner may ask for a post-mortem examination to be carried out in order to establish the cause of death. In this case, the post-mortem is compulsory and must take place before the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death can be issued.
The Coroner’s Officers, who are based in Woking, will issue this certificate once the post-mortem has taken place and you will make all arrangements through them. The Bereavement Office can explain this procedure to you on the telephone and will put you in touch with the Coroner’s Officer. You may, however, need to come to the Bereavement Office at the hospital to collect property or valuables.
- Link to the Surrey Coroner’s website
In some circumstances, the Doctor who has signed the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death may ask for permission to carry out a post-mortem, or you may wish to request that a post-mortem be performed. All consented post-mortems are performed at St. Peter’s Hospital.
Unlike a Coroner’s post-mortem, you have a right to refuse a post-mortem requested by the doctors. It is entirely your decision as to whether or not you give permission for this – it is NOT compulsory. You also have the option if choosing a limited post-mortem, rather than a full examination, A post-mortem of this kind can only take place once you have signed the appropriate consent form. You will be given the opportunity to discuss this with a doctor before you give your consent.