Be ready for death certification changes in Scotland

THE first phase of changes in death certification procedures in Scotland are due to be implemented next month.

Doctors will be required to use the new paper-based Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) from the 6th August 2014. After this date, old style MCCDs and incompletely filled MCCDs will be rejected by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages and returned to the certifying doctor or another doctor in the team to complete and issue a new form.

The new arrangements are a result of The Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011 which is aimed at streamlining the current process, improving the accuracy of death certification and providing better public health information about causes of death in Scotland.

A second phase of the implementation is scheduled for April 2015 and will introduce further changes including electronic completion and transfer of MCCDs and scrutiny by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, along with a new electronic system of reporting to the procurator fiscal. There will no longer be a requirement to fill out cremation forms and Healthcare Improvement Scotland will take over the administrative process for those who have died outside the UK and are repatriated for burial or cremation in Scotland.

NHS Education for Scotland has published tools and training resources to help doctors prepare for the changes.

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