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.