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Bereavement Services

On behalf of all of the staff involved in caring for your loved one whilst they were in hospital, we wish to express our sincere condolences to you at this extremely difficult time.

Bereavement Services staff offer advice and guidance on the practical steps you will need to take following a bereavement. The team consists of a small group of experienced individuals, who are committed to providing the highest standard of care and support to the family and friends of those who die in hospital. We are primarily based in the Bereavement Office at Royal Stoke University Hospital, however we also cover County Hospital in Stafford.

You will need to contact the Bereavement Office using the details provided under the ‘Contact Details’ tab.

A member of the team will need to ask you some questions about your loved one, to determine whether or not we need to report your loved one’s death to the Coroner, and to determine what paperwork will be required for the funeral.

In order to formally register the death, you will need to provide the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages with the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (medical certificate).

The Bereavement Office will contact the doctor involved in caring for your loved one, and ask them to complete the medical certificate. The medical certificate is not something that is immediately available to be collected following the death of a patient. It is something that the doctor usually has to discuss with a Consultant, before physically visiting the Bereavement Office to write out. Once this is done, all of the paperwork will need to be double-checked by a Bereavement Officer.

If we do not need to report the death to the Coroner, then we will contact you at the earliest convenience and provide you with the details that you will need, in order to make an appointment to register the death.

The circumstances of your loved one’s death may need to be reported to the Coroner for a number of different reasons. In the case that the death is deemed to be reportable, the Bereavement Office will only be able to contact you to arrange collection of the medical certificate if the Coroner agrees to this. Bereavement Services staff will not be able to give a specific time frame on how long it will take for the Coroner to come to a decision.

The Coroner may order a post mortem examination to establish the cause of death in cases where the diagnosis was not known or clear. In this instance, the Bereavement Office will notify you of the need for the post mortem. You will then be contacted later on by one of the Coroner’s Officers, and they will explain the process in more depth.

Should you have any concern surrounding the care of your loved one whilst they were in hospital, you can raise this with Bereavement Services staff in the first instance. However, you can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), who provide the opportunity for patients, relatives and carers to raise in confidence, any problems, concerns or comments they may have about the care or service they receive from staff in the hospital. PALS can be contacted on telephone number 01782 676450 or 01782 676455, Monday to Friday, from 9:00am until 4:00pm.

  • Please do not visit the hospital Bereavement Office in person without having already been advised by the staff that the medical certificate is available
  • You need to speak with a member of the Bereavement Services team as soon as possible, the working day after the death
  • Once all of the necessary paperwork has been completed, we will contact you to advise what to do next
  • We would really appreciate your patience, as the process can sometimes take longer than you might have expected. However if you would like an update at any point, please do not hesitate to contact the Bereavement Office
  • A common misconception is that the Bereavement Services team provides a counselling service. Staff can only signpost you to various external organisations, who are able to help you deal with the emotional side of a bereavement

Any belongings or personal assets that your loved one had with them in hospital do not get sent to the Bereavement Office. The ward staff will normally liaise with you directly, with regard to collecting any belongings left on the ward

Please note that since the publishing of our ‘Helping you cope with Bereavement’ Booklets, many temporary practical changes have been introduced because of the pandemic, and some of the information contained within the booklet will not currently apply.

You may have been given a copy of our information booklet on the ward, but we appreciate that not everybody will have had the opportunity to visit the hospital under the current restrictions. Electronic copies of the booklet have been produced and are available to view as detailed below.

A covering leaflet has also been designed to explain the changes to processes as a result of the pandemic. A copy of the leaflet can be found under the ‘Helping you cope with Bereavement - Information booklet’ tab.

Royal Stoke University Hospital (External web link) - https://www.rns.uk/royal-stoke-university-hospital-29271

County Hospital, Stafford (External web link) - https://www.rns.uk/the-county-hospital-staffordshire-27284

Vickie Poole - Bereavement Services Manager / Lead Medical Examiner Officer

Samuel Townshend - Deputy Bereavement Services Manager / Medical Examiner Officer

Brogan Hambleton - Bereavement Team Leader

Mandy Billington - Bereavement Officer

Robert Eccles - Bereavement Officer

Janet Merritt - Bereavement Officer

Sarah Sidley - Bereavement Officer

Royal Stoke University Hospital

The Bereavement Office at Royal Stoke is located on the ground floor of the Main Building. We are in the corridor that leads to the wards, slightly to the right as you enter the Main Building, just beyond the main reception desk.

Office opening hours: From 9:00am until 4:00pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed on weekends and bank holidays.

Telephone number: 01782 676323 or email: bereavement.uhns@nhs.net

Funeral Directors should call our dedicated reception desk on telephone number: 01782 676328

 

County Hospital, Stafford

If your loved one has died at County Hospital, please contact the Bereavement Office after 11:00am the working day after your bereavement.

Telephone number: 01785 230532 or email: bereavement.uhns@nhs.net

At County Hospital, collection of the medical certificate is on an appointment basis. We will arrange a convenient date and time for you to attend the main reception desk once the medical certificate is ready to be collected.