Bereavement Services

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Our bereavement team are here to help guide you through the necessary arrangements after someone has sadly died.

About our service

A bereavement team member will ask you some questions and check your details to ensure they have the correct information required.  They will explain what you need to do next and when the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is likely to be completed.

If you have been directed to this website, you have experienced the death of someone close to you.  We are very sorry for your loss and we know that this can be a very difficult and distressing time.

The subjects that you may find helpful on this website are:

  • When a death is referred to HM Coroner
  • Choosing a funeral director
  • Bereavement support
  • Grieving
  • Visiting a person who has died
  • Review the case of people who die in hospital

For more information, download our Bereavement booklet.pdf [pdf] 2MB

Learning from lives and deaths – People with a learning disability and autistic people (LeDeR)

All deaths of people with a learning disability or autistic people (aged 4 and over) will be referred into the LeDeR programme.  The programme aims to improve care, reduce health inequalities and prevent people dying early by reviewing information about the health and social care support people with a learning disability or autistic people received during their life.


An initial review of the death will take place, and as part of the process, the local reviewer will speak to family members, friends, professionals and anyone else involved in supporting the person who has died.  This is to find out more about their life and the circumstances leading to their death.  Families can be involved as little or as much as they would like throughout the review process.

When a death is referred to HM Coroner

Some deaths are referred to HM Coroner, for example where the cause of death is unknown, there are grounds for thinking the death may have been due to an injury or some unnatural cause e.g. industrial disease, the effects of drugs, an injury or the cause is not known.

When a death is referred to HM Coroner they may request a post mortem examination.  HM Coroner will decide whether an inquest is required, to establish the cause of death.  An inquest is a “fact finding” exercise which normally aims to determine the circumstances of someone’s death.

Our Bereavement Officers will inform you if we have referred the death to HM Coroner.  You will then receive a call from one of HM Coroner’s officers to explain their role and discuss what happens next.  When a death has been referred to HM Coroner, the hospital is unable to act until we have been informed of what action HM Coroner has decided to take.

HM Coroner is a judicial office holder who is independent from the hospital and local government.

If we do not refer a death to HM Coroner, but you have concerns about the treatment we provided, you can ask HM Coroner to consider holding an inquest.  It is important to do this as soon as possible after your loved one has died, as delays in requesting an inquest may mean that opportunities for HM Coroner to hold a post mortem are lost.

If you would like to contact HM Coroner’s Officers:

HM Coroner for West Yorkshire (Eastern)

71 Northgate, Wakefield, WF1 3BS

Tel: 01924 302180

HM Coroner for West Yorkshire (Western)

City Courts, The Tyrls, Bradford, BD1 1LA

Tel: 01274 391362

Support when an Inquest is taking place

The Coroners’ Courts Support Service is a voluntary organisation which supports people who are attending an inquest. They can be contacted via a helpline on 0300 111 2141 or via email on

Choosing a Funeral Director

You do not have to wait until the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is issued.  In some cases it may not be possible for the hospital doctor to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (i.e. if the death is referred to HM Coroner and a further investigation is needed).

A funeral can only take place after a death has been registered.  Most people choose to use a funeral director, though you can arrange a funeral yourself.  If you wish to arrange the funeral yourself, you can find useful information about how to do this on the National Death Centre Charity website.

When choosing a Funeral Director you should feel comfortable and confident with them.  You can ask any Funeral Director for an estimated cost before making a commitment to use their services.  It is reasonable to seek estimates from more than one company.

The Funeral Director needs to know and discuss with you:

  • The name, age and religion of the deceased
  • The place of death and name of the doctor who has signed the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  • Any particular requests left by the deceased
  • If burial or cremation is required
  • The style of coffin
  • The type of service, hymns, cars, flowers, newspaper notices etc you would like

Funeral Costs

You could get a Funeral Payment if you are on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you are arranging.  How much you get depends on your circumstances.  Click here to see if you qualify.

To compare prices of funeral directors in your area and for free independent advice about funerals you can visit Funeral Zone.

Please note that Wakefield Council no longer charge for a burial or cremation of a child under the age of 15 (inclusive).  Kirklees Council no longer charge for a burial or cremation of a child under the age of 18.

Early release

Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust have improved on the support offered to bereaved families, through an early release and the introduction of out of hours early release of the deceased.

What is an early release? 

Early release is required urgently by some relatives of deceased patients. This may be for religious, cultural or other reasons. The most common reason for the request for out of hours release of a deceased patient is to meet the religious need for a burial or cremation as soon as possible (within 24 hours).

The bereavement and chaplaincy team action requests so the deceased can be buried in the time frame needed for certain religions. 

Out of hours early release

After identifying delays as a further stress to grieving relatives, the Chaplaincy team introduced the idea to create the out of hours support. Honouring relatives request for loved ones to have an early release, the Trust Chaplaincy team now offer additional assistance, outside of the normal bereavement service hours of 9am - 5pm. 

Families and carers of the deceased can now take comfort in the support offered by the Chaplaincy team who have with a deep religious and a cultural understanding of the asks brought to them by faith communities.

How do you request an early release? 

Early release requests can be asked by the friends, family, and relatives, to the healthcare colleagues on the ward staff. During working hours, healthcare colleague will contact the Bereavement Team to process the request.

Out of hours, 5pm until 8am on weekdays and weekends, healthcare colleagues will contact the on-call Chaplain.

Requests are complete by the Bereavement and Chaplaincy team as part of the early release policy in consultation with the medical practitioners, nursing staff and mortuary technicians, allowing an effective process to be completed. 

Bereavement support

Our bereavement team can provide you with information about bereavement support services and practice advice about the things you may need to do following a bereavement. 

This could include:

  • Collecting any personal items belonging to the person who has died.
  • Making arrangements to see the person who has died.
  • Collecting the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
  • How to register the death.

The Gov.Uk website also provides practical information on what to do following a death.

We know that the death of a loved one is traumatic for families. This can be even more so when concerns have been raised, or when a family is involved in an investigation process.

Some families have found that counselling or having someone else to talk to can be very beneficial.  You may want to discuss this with your GP, who can refer you to local support.  Alternatively, there may be other local or voluntary organisations that provide counselling support that you would prefer to access. 

There is a Wakefield & District Bereavement Support Service available (provided by The Prince of Wales Hospice).  This is a community service to support people to find ways of coping and living with grief following the death of a significant other. 

Contact: 01977 781452


The Family and Spiritual Care Team at Kirkwood Hospice provides emotional and psychological support for those living with, affected by or bereaved through a life limiting illness.  The team work alongside you by trying to listen and understand what your world is like for you.

Contact: 01484 557908

There are also other organisations that can offer support which are below:


Grieving is a natural process that can take place after any kind of loss.  When someone we love dies we can be left with overpowering feelings, which have to run their course.  There are a whole succession of different feelings that can take some time to go through and must not be hurried.  Although people are all individuals, the order in which they go through these feelings is very similar.

For some time following the death of someone who is close, most people feel totally stunned.  A feeling of disbelief is common, even if the death has been expected (say after a long period of illness).  This feeling of numbness can actually be a help in dealing with the various practical arrangements that have to be made, but this detachment from reality can become a problem if it goes on for too long.

To overcome this feeling of numbness for some people it can help to see the person who has died.  It is not until the funeral that the reality of what has happened finally sinks in.  Although it may be distressing to attend the funeral or to see the body, it is important to say goodbye to the one we loved.

It is often the case for people who did not do this to experience a great feeling of regret for years to come.  After the feeling of numbness has gone, it is often replaced for a sense of agitation and a yearning for the person who has died.  This can affect the bereaved in their everyday life, it may be difficult to relax, concentrate or sleep properly.

Some people experience disturbing dreams, others feel they see their loved one everywhere they go and especially in the places that they used to spend time together.  It is also quite usual to feel angry at the time, may be towards the person who has left them.  Another common feeling is guilt.  It is likely that the bereaved will go over in their mind all the things that they wished that they had said or done.  In some cases they may even consider what they could have done to have prevented the death.  Of course death is usually beyond the control of anyone and they must be reminded of this.

Visiting a person who has died

Care after death

After someone has sadly died in the hospital, they will be taken to our mortuary where they can be cared for.  Here they are cared for by our technicians who ensure the person is safe and their dignity maintained.  They will also support you if you wish to visit someone who has died in the hospital.

Visiting at the hospital

After bereavement, some relatives choose to visit their loved one at the hospital.

Pinderfields Hospital – 01924 541242

Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm.  The staff will agree a time with you and they will give you directions to our viewing room.  When you arrive they will then come to meet up and support you through your visit.

Please note that visiting appointments are for half an hour and must be pre-booked.

Dewsbury Hospital – 01924 542626

Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  The staff will agree a time with you and they will give you directions to our viewing room.  When you arrive they will then come to meet up and support you through your visit.

Please note that visiting appointments are for half an hour and must be pre-booked.

Visiting at the Funeral Directors

Some relatives prefer to visit their loved one at the funeral home.  Most funeral directors will be able to help arrange this and you should call them to arrange a time to visit.

Reviewing the care of people who die in hospital

Case note/record reviews are carried out in different circumstances.  Firstly, case note/record reviews are routinely carried out in NHS Trusts on a proportion of all their deaths to learn, develop and improve healthcare, as well as when a problem in care may be suspected.

A clinician (usually a doctor), who was not directly involved in the care your loved one received, will look carefully at their case notes.  They will look at each aspect of their care and how well it was provided.  When a routine review finds any issues with a patient’s care, we contact their family to discuss this further.

Secondly, we also carry out case note/record reviews when a significant concern is raised with us about the care we provided to a patient.  We consider a “significant concern” to mean:-

  1. any concerns raised by the family that cannot be answered at the time; or
  2. anything that is not answered to the family’s satisfaction or which does not reassure them.

This may happen when a death is sudden, unexpected, untoward or accidental.  When a significant concern has been raised, we will undertake a case note/record review for your loved one and share our findings with you.

At The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust we are committed to providing high quality care for all our patients and their families.  We hope that you feel the experience of care provided to your loved one was positive.  However, if this is not the case, you will be given an opportunity to share any worries you may have when you speak with our Bereavement Team.

If, at this time, you are unable to share your concerns and think of something later that you would like to discuss with us, you can share this by contacting our Patient, Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).  The PALS team will assist by identifying the best person to hear and act on your feedback.  All concerns will be listened to carefully and if needed, may result in a more thorough investigation of the care that was provided.  You will be kept informed of any investigations that are undertaken.

Medical Examiner's Office

All Acute Trusts in England and Local Health Boards in Wales were asked to host Medical Examiner Offices to focus on the certification of all deaths that occur within the Trust Organisation and in the Community setting.

The purpose of the Medical Examiner System is to:

  • provide greater safeguards for the public by ensuring proper scrutiny of all non-coronial deaths
  • ensure the appropriate direction of deaths to the coroner
  • provide a better service for the bereaved and an opportunity for them to raise any concerns to a doctor not involved in the care of the deceased
  • improve the quality of death certification
  • improve the quality of mortality data.

What is a Medical Examiner?

Medical Examiners are senior medical doctors who are contracted for a number of sessions a week to undertake Medical Examiner duties outside of their usual clinical duties. They are trained in the legal and clinical elements of death certification processes. The Medical Examiner’s service is an independent service housed/located within Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and Medical Examiners carry out their duties as independent medical professional.

The role of the Medical Examiner is to:

  • Agree the proposed cause of death and the overall accuracy of the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) with the doctor completing it.
  • Discuss the cause of death with the next of kin/informant and establish if they have questions or any concerns with care before death.
  • Act as a medical advice resource for the local coroner.
  • Inform the selection of cases for further review under local mortality arrangements and contribute to other clinical governance procedures.

Medical examiners are assisted by Medical Examiner Officers, who have specifically trained for the role.

Who are the Medical Examiners?

Dr Katherine Naik   
Lead Medical Examiner and Consultant Radiologist

Dr Rhiannon Humphreys
Medical Examiner and Consultant Physician in Elderly Medicine

Dr Elizabeth Carson
Medical Examiner and Consultant Anaesthetist

Dr Owen Johnson
Medical Examiner and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine

Dr Anthony Taylor
Medical Examiner and Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Dr Owain Prys-Jones
Medical Examiner and General Practitioner

Dr Marie-Anne Fisher
Medical Examiner and General Practitioner

Dr Steven Grimshaw
Medical Examiner and Consultant in Elderly Medicine

Dr Toria Stocks
Medical Examiner and Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Mrs Helen Thomson
Medical Examiner and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon

Dr Dave Hall
Medical Examiner and Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Dr Rob Bradley
Medical Examiner and Consultant Radiologist

Dr Neil Allen
Medical Examiner and ICU Consultant

Who are the Medical Examiner Officers?

Mrs Janice Munford                                              Mr Asif Nawaz
Senior Lead Medical Examiner Officer                 Lead Medical Examiner Officer

Mrs Cheryl Dyson                                                  Mrs Fiona Turner   
Medical Examiner Officer                                     Medical Examiner Officer

Mrs Lisa Phillips
Medical Examiner Officer                                  

How and when will the Medical Examiners or Officers contact you?

A Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer will contact you by phone within a few days of your bereavement. This usually takes place after the attending doctor who is issuing the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has contacted the Medical Examiner Office to discuss the death. If the Coroner is involved in investigating the death, you may not always receive a call from the Medical Examiner Team, but you should expect a call from a Coroners Officer.

If it is inconvenient to take the call at that time or if you would prefer a different member of your family to take the call, please let us know. Delaying the call may delay the process of registering the death, which should be completed within five days wherever possible.

What will they discuss with me? What can I say to them?

The Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer will tell you what has been proposed as the cause of death.

You will be asked if it is what you expected and if you need any explanation. Causes of death often use medical terminology which can be confusing. Please feel free to ask for an explanation if you are unsure of what the Medical Examiner or Officer is discussing with you.

A doctor will always provide a cause of death to their best knowledge and belief. Whilst the law does not permit you to reject a treating doctor’s opinion on what the cause of death is, one of the purposes of your discussion with the Medical Examiner or Officer is for you to express your opinion if you disagree with the proposed cause. If you are able to provide new information which may alter the cause of death, the Medical Examiner or Officer will have a discussion with the treating doctor and this will be taken into consideration.

The Medical Examiner or Officer will then ask you if you have any comments or questions regarding the healthcare provided to your deceased relative or if you think there is anything that should be investigated further. Your comments will be fed back to the members of staff involved, if the Medical Examiner thinks it is appropriate to do so. The Medical Examiner will not be able to guarantee that any action will be taken, but they have a duty to pass on serious or persistent problems to the Regional Medical Examiner or Coroner, who will decide what action is appropriate.

The conversation with the Medical Examiner, as well as independent, is covered by the usual rules of medical confidentiality. This means, any information you share with the Medical Examiner or Officer will be kept confidential and not shared with the hosting organisation, unless you provide permission. In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the Medical Examiner to pass information to others (for example the coroner or police) to improve future care, protect other patients or comply with the law.

Where can I get further information and support?

If you have questions about the illness or the treatment of your relative, the Medical

Examiner is a senior doctor and may have sufficient knowledge to be able to help you. However, Medical Examiners are not specialists, and they may need to explain how you can seek answers to specialist medical questions.

If you would like any further support or information regarding your bereavement, please contact the Bereavement Office in the Acute Trust where your relative passed away. Alternatively, please contact the GP surgery who is issuing the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death who will be able to assist you and signpost you to support.

Contact us

If you would like to contact us, please feel free to do so:

Monday to Friday (8am to 4.30pm) -