Not all deaths are reported to the coroner.
In many cases the GP, or a hospital doctor who has been providing treatment during the final illness, is able to issue a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) without reference to a coroner.
When is a death reported to a coroner?
A death should be reported to the coroner when a doctor knows or has reason to believe that the death:
- Occurred as a result of poisoning, the use of a controlled drug, medical product or toxic chemical;
- Occurred as a result of trauma, violence or physical injury, whether inflicted intentionally or otherwise;
- Is related to any treatment or procedure of medical or similar nature;
- Occurred as a result of self-harm, (including a failure by the deceased person to preserve their own life) whether intentional or otherwise;
- Occurred as a result of an injury or disease received during, or attributable to, the course of the deceased person’s work;
- Occurred as a result of a notifiable accident, poisoning, or disease;
- Occurred as a result of neglect or failure of care by another person;
- Was otherwise unnatural.
The coroner should also be informed where:
- The death occurred in custody or otherwise in state detention – of whatever cause;
- No attending practitioner attended the deceased at any time in the 14 days prior to death or no attending practitioner is available to prepare a MCCD;
- The identity of the deceased is unknown.
Can anyone else report a death to a coroner?
If someone believes that a death has not been reported to the coroner when it should have been, they may report the death to the coroner themselves. This should normally happen before there has been any interference with the body and before a funeral takes place.