Advice for GPs about completing a death certificate

Guidance for doctors about completing a Medical Certificate Cause of Death (MCCD) and when to report to the Coroner.

MCCD is the abbreviation for Medical Certificate Cause of Death.


You're required to provide a cause of death and issue a death certificate (under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953) if:

  • you're a registered medical practitioner
  • were in attendance during the deceased’s last illness

You need to state the cause of death to the best of your knowledge and belief. The doctor who attended for the last illness and completes the MCCD must be the same doctor.

You can issue a death certificate if:

  • you're a registered medical practitioner and was in attendance during the deceased’s last illness
  • this was more than 14 days before their death

You need to:

  • see the body of the deceased after death and indicate this on the death certificate by circling statement A.

Do not release the death certificate to the family until the body has been viewed.

It does not need to be the deceased’s named GP that issues the MCCD.

Any registered medical practitioner who has attended the deceased during their last illness can issue a MCCD if they've seen the deceased within 14 days before they have died or body after death.

No, do not include any abbreviations on your MCCD.

You should report to the Coroner any death that cannot readily be certified as being due to natural causes.

A death must be referred if the:

  • cause of death is unknown
  • deceased has not been seen by a doctor during their last illness, or was not seen within the last 14 days or viewed after death
  • death was violent, unnatural or was suspicious
  • death may be due to an accident (whenever it occurred)
  • death may be due to self-neglect or neglect by others
  • death may be due to industrial disease or related to the deceased’s employment
  • death may be due to an abortion
  • death occurred during an operation or before the recovery from the effects of an anaesthetic
  • death may be due to a suicide
  • death occurred during or shortly after detention in police or prison custody

Old age can be used if a more specific cause of death cannot be given, in the absence of any factors that require a Coroner to be informed of the death and the deceased is aged 80 years or over.

Then the death should be reported to The Coroner Service if it's believed that the deceased's current or previous employment may have contributed to their death.

You need to report the death if the deceased:

  • suffered a fall before their death resulting in a significant injury which you think contributed to their death
  • has sustained a fracture which you think contributed to their death

Contact the local cemeteries office for advice about completing a cremation form.

Immediately call the Police on 101 if a person died in sudden and unexpected circumstances.

Yes. Call 0345 607 2040, option 1 or email