Death certification easements to end

EASEMENTS to death certification processes and cremation forms introduced in England by the Coronavirus Act 2020 expired at midnight on March 24, 2022, although some changes will be retained.

The provision temporarily allowing any medical practitioner to complete a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), introduced as a temporary measure by the Act, has been discontinued.

Now only a medical practitioner who has attended the deceased for their last illness will be allowed to complete an MCCD, and “attendance after death (i.e. viewing the body) will need to be in person and includes verifying the death”.

The provisions allowing a doctor to issue an MCCD within 28 days of attending a patient (compared with the 14-day limit, prior to the pandemic) have been made permanent through a change to regulations. The ‘last seen alive’ requirement includes consultations using video technology but does not include consultation by telephone or audio only.

Last month the Scottish Government announced a six month extension to some of the temporary provisions made under the UK legislation.

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