The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Mortality process

Guidance for the revised mortuary process

Click here to download the guidance [21/04/2020]

Viewing of deceased adult patients suspended

In line with other organisations, funeral directors and due to the increased demand on our services, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend family viewings of adult patients who have died. This suspension does not include children who have died.

We realise that this will be an upsetting time for families and our bereavement team will be on hand to offer support and guidance. There is more information about the support services available here.


Completion of Cremation Forms

The Coronavirus Act 2020 which received Royal Assent on Wednesday 25 March 2020 has made changes to the regulation of cremations.

The changes include;

  • The requirement to complete the confirmatory medical certificate (form Cremation 5) is suspended.  Cremations should be authorised on the basis of form Cremation 4 only.
  • The requirement for form Cremation 4 to be completed by the attending medical practitioner is suspended.  Any medical practitioner can now complete form Cremation 4, even if they did not attend the deceased during their last illness or after death, if the following conditions are fulfilled:
  1. The medical practitioner who did attend the deceased is unable to sign the form Cremation 4 or it is impractical for them to do so and,
  2. A medical practitioner has seen the deceased (including audiovisual/video consultation) within 28 days before death or has viewed the body in person after death.
  • Examination of the body is not required for completion of form Cremation 4 if the deceased was seen by a medical practitioner (including audiovisual/video consultation) in the 28 days before death. 
  • Any completed cremation forms 5 that you may receive will not form part of the application and there will be no duty to retain them.
  • There will be no need for a medical referee to re-authorise any cremation that they have already authorised under the arrangements which applied prior to implementation of the 2020 Act.

An electronic copy of the Cremation Form is available here. 

Once completed the form must be emailed to and copied  Further support and guidance will be provided by the Bereavement team.


Completion of Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)

Clinicians are still required to attend the Bereavement Office to compete the MCCD as soon as practicable following a patient’s deaths.  It is essential that the certificate is completed in a timely manner to support the release of deceased patients as efficiently as possible, minimising distress for Families and Carers.

If symptoms clinically indicate a patient as being COVID-19 positive, and swab results are not available or were negative, we have received confirmation from the Coroner’s Office that ‘Probable COVID-19’ can be documented as a cause of death and can be recorded on the MCCD.


Completion of the COVID-19 Mortality Notification Form

If your patient died of confirmed or suspected (results pending) COVID-19 please ensure you complete the COVID-19 Mortality Notification Form and email within 1 hour of the patient’s death.


Transfer of Deceased patients to the Mortuary

Could we please remind clinical teams that all patients with positive or suspected COVID-19 suspected must be transferred to the mortuary with body ID card on the outside of the body bag.


Procedure for returning property of deceased patients to relative

A process has been put in place to return the belongings of deceased patients to relatives, where they request this.