The UK government has introduced a coronavirus bill to manage the deceased with respect and dignity. The changes in the bill will decrease the amount of paperwork needed in order to register a deceased helping death care providers stay safe and help families faster during the growing pandemic.
The changes in the bill are meant to protect public health by adapting the current procedures concerning death registration and management. The changes simplify the application processes by reducing obliged second confirmations, giving coroners more rights and allowing the transmission of documents electronically.
Coronavirus bill updates:
- mean a coroner is only to be notified where a doctor believes there is no medical practitioner who may sign the death certificate, or that they are not available within a reasonable time of the death
- introduce powers to enable the provisions under the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 relating to the collection of ashes to be suspended and replaced with a duty to retain until the suspension is lifted, except where family wishes are known. Also, suspend an offence in section 49 of the 2016 Act, allowing any relative of the deceased to complete the cremation application form, regardless of the required hierarchy set out by section 65 of the 2016 Act
- expand the list of people who can register a death to include funeral directors acting on behalf of the family
- enable electronic transmission of documents that currently have to be physically presented in order to certify the registration of a death
- remove the need for a second confirmatory medical certificate in order for a cremation to take place
- remove the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 requirement that any inquest into a COVID-19 death must be held with a jury. Other notifiable diseases will still require an inquest with a jury
- suspend the referral of certificates to the Death Certification Review Service (DCRS) for review in Scotland under the Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011. The timing of the suspension to be at the discretion of Scottish ministers