Patients & Visitors

Care of the Dying

The Coroner

The Coroner's Office
2nd Floor, Kenneth Steele House
PO Box 2781
Bristol, BS2 2AS


Fax Number:


The Coroner will be a qualified doctor or lawyer and is responsible solely to the Crown. He has the task of inquiring into deaths in a variety of circumstances.

These include:

  • Deaths that occur within 24 hours of admittance into hospital
  • All sudden deaths
  • Deaths where the medical cause is unknown
  • Deaths where the cause is unnatural for example as the result of an accident
  • Deaths from any sort of poisoning
  • If the death occurred whilst the patient was undergoing an operation, or shortly afterwards
  • If the death is caused by an industrial disease
  • Deaths where patients are admitted unconscious and if a diagnosis cannot be confirmed
  • Deaths which occur as a result of a fall or injury causing fractures in the elderly
  • Deaths from alcohol or drug related illness

The Coroner's Role

When a death is referred, it is up to the Coroner to decide whether or not it should be further investigated. No consent from the next-of-kin or representative is required.

You will be asked to contact the Coroner's Officer who will need details from you. He will also advise you when the death can be registered. The documentation is sent directly from the Coroner's Office to the Register Office.

In a significant number of cases the coroner will authorise the doctor who knows the deceased's medical history well to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (Part A).

Registering the death will be delayed until the Coroner's papers reach the Register Office. This normally takes approximately two working days.

When an inquest is to be held the death cannot be registered until after the conclusion of the inquest, but a certificate for the funeral to take place will normally be issued to the funeral director at the opening of the inquest.

After the inquest has been held the death will be registered and the next-of-kin informed.

When the death has been reported to the Coroner, it is important to advise your funeral director of this as soon as possible.

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