Please accept our sincere condolences if you are visiting this section following the loss of a relative or friend.
Immediate support will be provided by ward staff. Please contact the relevant ward for assistance. However, if you are having problems resolving any issues following a death please contact:
Josephine Charlton, MEO bereavement lead, 0191 445 2647 (direct line)
Help for bereaved families and friends
Miss me, but let me go
When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free.
Miss me a little – but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared.
Miss me – but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take,
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely, and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me – but let me go.
The Staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital wish to extend to you our sympathy and condolences in your bereavement.
If you need help in any way please do not hesitate to ask.
If you wish, the Nurse-in-Charge can arrange for you to talk to the doctors, nurses, the chaplain and any other members of staff involved in the care of your loved one.
The days immediately following your bereavement can be a confusing and bewildering time.
Not only are there all the feelings and emotions of grief to cope with but there are a number of practical matters that need your attention.
We hope the information that follows will help and assist you during this time.
Department of Work and Pensions leaflet DWP28 “What to do after a Death” gives comprehensive advice and details about the formalities involved.
If you have not received one already, the leaflet can be obtained from your local Job Centre Plus office or contact Bereavement Services on 0191 4452647.
Registering the death
On being informed of the death
You will require a completed Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) in order to register the death.
Before the certificate can be issued, the attending doctor will need to discuss the Cause of Death with the duty Medical Examiner (ME).
The ME is a senior doctor who can provide information about your relative’s illness and care.
The duty ME will also discuss the Cause of Death with the Next of Kin or person responsible for arranging the funeral.
This will provide families with an opportunity to raise any questions and/or concerns before the MCCD is completed.
PLEASE EXPECT A CALL TO DISCUSS THIS.
The main purpose of these discussions is to:
- Determine the cause of death
- Determine if the case needs to be referred to the Coroner
- Ensure early detection and notification of any issues of care
What happens next?
Once all discussions have taken place and the Cause of Death agreed, the attending doctor will complete the MCCD and pass this to the Trust’s Bereavement Team.
A member of staff will then contact the family to provide advice, support and help arrange an appointment for the death to be registered.
A death must be registered within five days at the Gateshead Office of Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages.
An appointment can be made by either telephoning 0191 433 3028 or booking online via Gateshead Council’s website selecting:
- People and Living – Births, deaths and marriages
- Deaths and funerals
Who can register the death?
- A relative of the deceased
- Someone who was present at the death
- A representative of the Hospital
- The person instructing the funeral director
Information needed for the registrar
To register the death you will need to take the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, issued by the hospital doctor or GP in its envelope unopened.
You will also need the following information about the deceased:
- Full names and address (maiden name if appropriate)
- The date and place of death (ward and hospital)
- Date and place of birth
- Occupation and occupation of spouse, if married
- State pension and benefits received – don’t worry if you are not sure
- National insurance number for the deceased and any surviving widow or widower
- Reference numbers of any passport, driving license or Disabled Blue Badge still in date
- The name and date of birth of any surviving widow or widower
The Registrar will give you a green certificate that you should hand to your Funeral Directors as soon as possible.
This enables them to proceed with the arrangements.
The Medical Death Certificate remains with the Registrar.
You will also be given a white certificate which you may need to send to your local Social Security Office.
If you need copies for insurance, bank account or other purposes, you may obtain them at a fee from the Registrar.
Unexplained or sudden deaths
If someone dies unexpectedly or suddenly and is brought into the Accident Department then the Coroner’s Officer will request certain information from the relatives.
They may also ask a member of the immediate family to formally identify the deceased.
The role of the coroner
A Coroner’s post-mortem is carried out in circumstances that include deaths that occur during/after an operation or other medical procedure, or death within 24 hours of admission to hospital.
The Coroner is an independent official with responsibility under law for the medical legal investigation of certain deaths.
He or she is legally obliged to enquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent or unnatural deaths.
In certain circumstances, this enquiry may necessitate a post-mortem examination.
If the Coroner directs that a post-mortem take place, consent is not required from a parent or next of kin.
In the situation where the coroner has ordered a post-mortem, the Medical Certificate will be sent to the Office of the Registrar for Births, Deaths & Marriages.
You will still be required to register the death with the Registrar unless an inquest is ordered.
The Coroner’s Officer will keep you informed of this process.
If you are uncertain the Funeral Director will know what to do, or you can telephone the coroner’s office on (0191) 4838192 (Office hours: 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday).
In some situations, the hospital medical staff may ask permission to carry out a post-mortem, but they cannot proceed without your consent.
They will explain the reasons for this request.
It is possible to give consent for a partial post-mortem.
You may however wish to withhold consent for a post-mortem, or limit the procedure.
Organising the funeral
It is recommended that you contact a funeral director as soon as possible after the death of your loved one.
This can be done before the death certificate has been issued.
The undertaker will visit you at home and will help and advise you on the necessary arrangements for the funeral.
The telephone directory contains further information on local funeral directors, should you need it.
Sometimes a person has expressed a wish or desire in respect of their funeral service and whether they prefer cremation or burial for their eventual place of rest.
This preference may be documented in their will.
Burials may take place in a churchyard, local authority or private cemetery.
After a cremation the ashes may either be buried in a churchyard or cemetery, scattered in a garden of remembrance or some other favourite place.
Please remember that if you wish to use your own garden for this purpose, you may some day want to move house.
Help with funeral costs
If you feel financial help is required, please contact your social services department or Citizens Advice Bureau for further advice.
Additional information can be found on Gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments.
The funeral directors may also be able to advise you.
Visit to the chapel of rest, Jubilee wing, Queen Elizabeth Hospital
It may help you to see your loved one after they have died.
This can be arranged either in the hospital’s chapel of rest by the mortuary staff, or in the funeral directors by the undertaker.
To arrange a visit in the hospital’s chapel of rest at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital it is important to make an appointment first by telephoning 0191 445 2309 between 8.45am and 4pm, 0191 482 0000 between 4pm and 7pm and the hospital switchboard will contact the on-call mortuary staff.
Visits to the chapel of rest are by appointment only, the last appointment being 7pm.
Visits are restricted to immediate family only.
The chapel of rest is sited on the basement floor of the Jubilee Wing and is accessed via the visitor’s door to the right-hand side of the main Jubilee entrance.
There is parking available directly outside the chapel of rest.
Remembrance books for adults and children
The death of a loved one is always a sad time for members of that person’s family.
It can be important for the grieving process to mark that person’s life.
One way of doing this is to put their name into a book of remembrance. If you would like to have an adult’s name entered then please send the name of the person and the date to be entered to:
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
You can also telephone 0191 445 2072.
Please contact the chaplaincy if you would like to enter a child’s name into the book of remembrance. You may also compose a short message to be incorporated into your entry. The chaplains will provide advice and guidance if you wish.
There is no charge for an entry.
This facility is for those who die in the hospital or for the loved ones of members of staff.
Each book is turned daily and can be viewed at any time during the day or the evening. If you wish to see your entry at any other time, then please contact the chaplains. This can be done by ringing the hospital switchboard on 0191 482 0000 or direct line 0191 445 2072.
What if I have a problem or concern?
If you feel that the Trust can be of further help to you, please contact bereavement services, who will be happy to assist on 0191 4452647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you may wish to address issues relating to the overall care of the person who has died.
The Trust has a Patients Advice Liaison Service (PALS) which can be contacted on 0800 953 0667 should you wish to discuss any concerns with a member of the team.
If you wish to raise your concerns through the formal process please contact: The Complaints Manager, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear NE9 6SX or telephone 0191 4456047.
The Trust takes all issues and complaints very seriously and will pursue a full investigation of any areas of concern that you raise.
Leaflets explaining both processes are available at the PALS office and on every ward and department of the hospital.
Improving our service
We constantly strive to improve our service. One of the best ways we can do this is by listening to the views of the people that use it.
We understand that this is a difficult time, but letting us know how you feel would be really valuable for the future. You may at some point in the next two to three months, receive a questionnaire asking to give views about your experience. If you are able, please take the time to complete and return it, we would really appreciate it. Thank you.
May we ask?
In the midst of your grief, may we ask the following of you so that we don’t inadvertently add to your distress.
- If your loved one regularly required an ambulance to attend any hospital or day centre, would you telephone 0191 2151515 and ask to cancel it?
- If your loved one has had the use of hospital or community property eg crutches/wheelchairs etc we would be grateful if you would arrange to have them returned to the appropriate centre. Please contact the relevant centre to ask for further assistance in this matter.
- If your loved one had any appointments, healthcare or other, it would be advisable to cancel them as soon as possible, or ask someone to do this on your behalf. Within the hospital we have a local system to do this, but we may be unaware of other appointments from other sources.
- The bereavement register can help reduce the amount of mail you receive. Either complete the bereavement register leaflet, email: www.thebereavementregister.org.uk or write to:
The Bereavement Register,
1 Newhams Row,
In your letter, provide the following information: Name of the deceased, full postal address, date of birth, date of death and the death certificate number (if you have it).
Coming to terms with grief
Whether the death was sudden and unexpected or had been anticipated for some time, the death of a relative or friend can be hard to come to terms with.
Grieving is a natural and normal process and it affects people in different ways. You may experience a mixture of emotions such as numbness and shock, disbelief, guilt and anger and you may not understand what is happening to you.
It may help to share your feelings with a relative or friend who is also feeling the loss. You might also wish to seek the support of a religious representative regardless of your beliefs and that includes the hospital chaplain, who can put you in touch with an appropriate person of your own denomination.
Hospital chaplains are available 24 hours a day. The chaplaincy can be contacted via a member of staff or you can contact them through the hospital switchboard, telephone 0191 4820000, or the hospital chaplains’ direct line, 0191 445 2072.
The chaplaincy also offers a very informal listening service to those who are bereaved. This is not a religious or long-term counselling service, but it could help you if you wish to talk with someone outside of your immediate circle of family or friends.
There is a chapel in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital which is located near to the Quenellies dining room.
The chapel is separate from the chapel of rest and may be used for quiet and reflection, whether or not you belong to a particular denomination or faith.
It can take months, even years, to fully grieve the loss of a loved one, but there are a number of organisations that can offer you help, advice, support and comfort during this painful period.
Everyone will have their own ways of remembering the person who has died. Talk about them, mention their name as often as you can and put the emphasis on the good things that have happened when they were alive. Most important of all will be your own memories.
Offers bereavement support for the elderly (50+) in their own homes.
341 High Street,
Tel: 0191 477 3559
Offers bereavement support for all ages.
National Helpline: 0808 808 1677
Local Helpline: 0191 276 5533 Website: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk
The compassionate friends
National Helpline: 0345 123 2304 Support and information daily from 10.00am – 4.00pm and 7.00pm – 10.00pm Website: www.tcf.org.uk
SANDS – Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society
Provides support for bereaved parents whose baby is stillborn or dies within the first 28 days of life.
Telephone 0207 436 7940 – details of local support will be made available from this service.
Helpline: 0808 164 3332 Helpline from 9.30am to 5.30pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Website: sands.org.uk
Barnado’s Orchard Mosaic
For bereaved children and young people up to age 18. Telephone 0191 212 0237
National Helpline: 116 123 – 24 hours, free from any phone. Website: www.samaritans.org. Local number 0330 094 5717, local call charges apply.
Citizens advice bureau
The Davison Building, Swan Street, Gateshead, NE8 1BG. Telephone 0344 245 1288. Website: www.gatesheadcab.org.uk.
Support for families affected by road crashes. Helpline: 0808 800 0401 from 10.00am – 4.00pm Monday to Friday
Survivors of bereavement by suicide
Telephone 0300 111 5065 9am – 9pm daily
Supports bereaved children.
Telephone 0808 802 0021 between 9am and 5pm.
Provides advice and information to anyone facing an inquest and has unique experience and knowledge of the inquest system. Telephone 0207 263 1111. Website: www.inquest.org.uk
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital also works in partnership with Coping with Cancer to offer a local bereavement drop-in service.
Other useful links
Department of Work and Pensions
Gateshead Council – Registering a Death
Local Support Groups
Age UK Gateshead
CRUSE Bereavement Care (Newcastle and Gateshead Branch)
Citizens Advice Bureau
Compassionate Friends (Tyne & Wear)