End of Covid Act changes to death registration and certification

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The arrangements for death certification and registration introduced by the Coronavirus Act (2020) expire on 24 March 2022. The relevant guidance can be found on the Government website, the key points of which are summarised below.

The following provisions continue after 24 March 2022:

  • The period before death within which a doctor completing a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) must have seen (which includes consultation using video technology but not telephone/audio technology alone) a deceased patient will remain 28 days (prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the limit was 14 days).
  • An MCCD can also be issued by a doctor who has viewed the body after death but this will need to be in person.
  • It will still be acceptable for medical practitioners to send MCCDs to registrars electronically.
  • The government’s intention is that the form Cremation 5 will not be re-introduced after the Act expires.

The following emergency provisions are changing with the expiry of Act on 24 March 2022:

  • The provision temporarily allowing any medical practitioner to complete the MCCD, introduced as a temporary measure by the Act, will be discontinued.
  • Informants will have to register deaths in person, not remotely.