New Telephone System

From March 2024, we have migrated to a new cloud based telephone service. This will enable us to provide a better service to our patients in the following areas: We do hope that this new service will make communicating with us easier for you, our patients. Thank you *

How To Cope When Someone Dies

Woolstone Medical Centre has put together a guide to practical implications of bereavement to help you through this difficult time.

Grief and personal distress may make it hard to deal with urgent practical matters and formalities. The following guide is a simple list of steps you need to take when someone close to you dies.

Prior to the Funeral

Obtain the medical certificate of the Cause of Death.

All deaths within Lewisham will be referred to the Medical Examiner Service based at Lewisham & Greenwich Trust from April 2023

What is a Medical Examiner?

The Medical Examiner lead a team based in the Medical Examiner Office. This is a team of senior doctors from a range of specialties including general practice. When someone dies, they review all the information available to determine the cause of death. They put the bereaved at the centre of processes after the death of a patient, by giving families and next of kin an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. The Medical Examiners liaise with the Doctors completing the Death Certificate (MCCD) so that this represents the cause of death accurately.

What does this mean for me and my family?

One of the Medical Examiners will contact the next of kin within 24 hours to discuss the death and get their perspective but also answer any questions they have.

Is the Medical Examiner the same as the Coroner?

The Medical examiner is not the coroner, but they do communicate with each other in some situations. Should your relative’s death need to be referred to the coroner then this will be explained to you.

Will it cause a delay in registering the death?

Although the Medical Examiners role adds an extra step in the production of the Death Certificate it is intended to improve safety and confidence in this area. Furthermore, the Medical Examiners aim to process the referrals within 24 hours and so the doctor completing it will be able to do so in a timely manner.

Local Registrar of Births and Deaths

Lewisham – Telephone 020 3192 6045 or visit their website

Bromley – Telephone 0300 303 8667 or visit their website

Greenwich – Telephone 020 8836 4626 or visit their website

Choose your Funeral Director
You will need the green certificate (given by the registrar). You must decide whether you want the deceased to rest at home or at the funeral directors chapel and whether or not you wish the deceased to be viewed.

Contact the Deceased’s Solicitor
If the deceased has left a will you then need to contact the executor’s and get a solicitor to read the will as there may be instructions as to the type of funeral required and whether organs are to be donated. There may also be a pre-paid funeral plan in existence which, you may be unaware of. Whether or not there is a will, probate has to be applied for if the estate is over £20,000.

Burial or Cremation
You will have to decide whether you want the deceased to be buried or cremated.

Notifying close Friends and Relations
You will need to notify close friends and relations of the bereavement, particularly those who will be attending the funeral.

Choice of Service
You need to choose the type of service you want, whether it is religious or not. The funeral director can help you with the church and minister.

Flowers or Donation
You need to decide whether you want flowers at the funeral or if you would prefer donations to a nominated charity.

Bereavement Counselling
If you need help with your loss there are a number of bereavement counsellors that you can contact. Lewisham Bereavement Counselling can be contacted at 2nd Floor Deptford Methodist Mission, London SE8 3BT or on 020 8692 6252 or ask your GP who can arrange this for you.

Press Notices and Obituaries
You may wish to place notices in the local or national press.

After the Funeral

Headstones and Memorials

Organise memorial cards or thank you cards

Returning Documents and Contacting People.

You may have to return:
• Payable Orders
• Passports
• Driving Licence
• Season Tickets (you may need to claim a refund)
• Membership cards
• Library cards
• Library books and tickets

You may have to notify
• Mortgage company or landlord
• Meals on wheels and home help
• Banks and Building societies
• The local council
• Credit card companies
• Loan and Hire Purchase companies
• Investment companies
• Inland Revenue
• Department of Work and Pensions regarding their state pension
• Utilities companies
• Hospital & Doctors’ surgery
• Insurance companies
• Pension companies
• Post Office to get mail redirected

Contacting the Bereavement Register
Direct marketing initiative targeting a deceased person can cause added and unnecessary distress for grieving families. By registering, you can put a stop to junk mail and reduce the number of unsolicited telephone calls. This is a free service and you can find information at their website