Bereavement service

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Airedale Hospital provides a full bereavement service to help relatives and friends to cope with their grief following the loss of a loved one. On this page you will find information about what to do next.

Please note that during the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been some changes to the usual process. This is all detailed in our booklet.

If you are experiencing feelings of grief or loss, from any cause, you can access the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Grief and Loss Support Service seven days a week, 8am – 8pm. Call the service on  0808 196 3833, or use text or online live chat at Translation services are available.

The first step

The hospital will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. On the morning following your bereavement please ring the Bereavement Officer at Airedale Hospital between 8.30am and 9.30am Monday to Friday on 01535 294329.

If you are unable to call between these times, please leave a message with your name and number, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible

  • If the death occurs on a weekend, please ring the Monday (or next working day if Monday is a bank holiday) following your bereavement (8.30am to 9.30am)

What happens when I get to the hospital?

On arrival at Airedale you should report to the area as directed by the Bereavement Officer. The Bereavement Officer works from 8am to 1pm Monday to Friday. If possible tell the Bereavement Officer whether you would like a cremation or burial. This can save time by getting appropriate forms signed by hospital doctors. Once the decision is made the hospital will deal with the forms for you.

What do I do with the certificate?

All deaths must be registered in the district in which they occur, even if the deceased lived elsewhere. This should be done within five working days of the death certificate being issued, unless there has been intervention by the Coroner.

The certificate should be taken to a Registrar of Births and Deaths. This can be by appointment either at Airedale Hospital or at the Keighley or Bradford Register Offices. The Registrar usually attends Airedale three mornings a week and appointments can be made through the Bereavement Officer. Appointments at Keighley or Bradford can be made by telephoning 01274 432151.

If there is difficulty for you to travel to the district a declaration of death may be attested at any Register Office in England and Wales. It is advisable before you decide on this route of registration to contact Keighley Register Office, as there may be delays for you organising the funeral.

Keighley Register Office, Town Hall, Bow Street, Keighley, BD21 3PA. All registrations are by appointment only. Tel 01274 432151.

  • Monday to Friday 9.15am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
  • Saturdays 9am to 11am

Should the need arise for documents to be issued by the Registrar for funerals to take place outside of these office hours please contact your funeral director for further information.

Who can register the death?

Certain people have a legal duty to give information, in order of preference (interpreted by the Registrar), they are as follows:

  • A relative of the deceased, who was present at the death.
  • A relative of the deceased who was in attendance during the illness.
  • Any relative residing or being in the district where the death occurred.
  • Anyone present at the time of death.
  • An occupier of the house where the death occurred.
  • The person arranging the funeral but NOT the funeral director.

What will I need to give the Registrar?

You will need the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and if possible, the deceased’s Medical Card and Birth certificate.

What will the Registrar ask me about?

  • The dates and places of birth and death.
  • The full name and marital status.
  • The home address.
  • Last occupation (even if retired)
  • If married – the date of birth of the surviving partner.
  • If female – maiden name and husband’s full name and occupation.

The Registrar will then issue you with two certificates:

  • A GREEN certificate, which is needed by the funeral director in order for a funeral to take place.
  • A WHITE certificate, which is needed for Social Security purposes.

At this time, it is possible to purchase a certified copy of the Death Certificate from the Registrar. You may need this document to send to banks, building societies, insurance companies etc. You may find more than one copy useful, as some organisations will not accept photocopies.

When do I contact the funeral director?

As soon as you wish, even before you have obtained a death certificate. The funeral director will also be able to give help, advice and support.

When is the Coroner involved?

The law requires that the hospital informs the Coroner of the death in certain cases, such as;

  • Sudden, violent or unnatural death where cause is unknown or cannot be ascertained.

The Coroner is responsible for establishing the cause of death. He is helped in this by a Coroner’s Officer. The officer will usually speak to relatives soon after death in order to gather facts and information about the deceased. This is a legal formality and is not intended to cause any concern. He may also contact the deceased’s GP for a recent medical history.

If the cause of death still remains unknown the Coroner will then order a post-mortem examination. The Coroner may also decide to hold an inquest into the death. In these circumstances, the Coroner’s Officer will inform you of the time and place. Please note the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death cannot be issued until the Coroner is satisfied of the cause of death. In these circumstances, it is acceptable to register the death after the five day period. You should also advise the funeral director that the Coroner is involved.

Voluntary post-mortems

You may be approached by a member of the medical staff for permission to carry out a voluntary post-mortem. The reason for the medical staff requesting this will be explained to you. If you decide to give permission for a voluntary post-mortem, there will be a legal form for you to sign. The funeral director should be informed of the decision.

What does a religious leader do?

In the course of making funeral arrangements you will be visited by your local religious leader (Priest, Imam, Vicar etc,) who will want to help you give the person who has died an appropriate funeral. Your funeral director will usually be the person to put you in touch with your local religious leader if they have not already made contact. Remember that the person who takes the funeral service of your loved one will also have concern for you and will respond to requests from you for support and advice, not just concerning the funeral, but as you adjust to your new situation in the coming months.

How can I get further help?

There are many organisations, which may be able to help with information and advice. Your GP or Practice Nurse may be a valuable source of help and information.

Further advice can be obtained from – Deaths and Bereavement

Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) – – Benefits

Probate Helpline – Tel: 0845 302 0900

Local Probate Office (Leeds) – Tel: 0113 389 6133

Cruse in Craven – Tel: 01756 79 77 99

National Cruse Helpline – Tel: 0844 477 9400.Website:

Bradford Bereavement Support – Tel: 01274 619522. Mobile: (9.30 am – 1.30 pm) 07946 131 940. Website:

Child Bereavement Trust – Tel: 01494 568 900

Asian Families Bereavement Support/Counselling Service – Tel: 0208 571 3933. Email:

Samaritans – Tel: 01274 547 547

Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Support –

Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service – Tel:  0208 951 3881

Medical Examiner’s Office

The Bereavement Office also works in conjunction with the Medical Examiner’s Office. This is a new service, currently being implemented on a national basis by the Department for Health and Social Care. They provide an independent scrutiny of all deaths not reported to the Coroner.