Medical Certificate Cause of Death Guidance Post-COVID
Publication date: March 2022
We have received an update on new MCCD guidance following changes which came into force on Friday 25 March 2022:
Medical certificate of cause of death
- Only a medical practitioner who has attended the deceased for their last illness will be allowed to complete a MCCD. A medical practitioner with GMC registration will be able to sign the MCCD if they attended the deceased during their final illness up to 28 days before death, or viewed the body in person after death, and can state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief.
i. The 28 day provision (the ‘last seen alive’ requirement), initially introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, has now been made permanent through a change to regulations and included in the MCCD guidance. ‘Seen’ in the context of attendance includes consultation using video technology. However, it does not include consultation by telephone/audio only.
ii. Attendance after death (i.e. viewing the body) will need to be in person and includes verifying the death.
It should be noted that the provision for any medical practitioner to complete the MCCD, introduced as a temporary measure by the Coronavirus Act, will be discontinued when the Act expires at midnight on 24 March 2022.
b. Requirements are different if the medical practitioner did not attend the deceased in the 28 days before death, or the deceased was not seen after death by the medical practitioner. After 24 March 2022, the MCCD can still be completed by the medical practitioner if they can state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief, but this will require coroner notification at registration, or preferably by the medical practitioner beforehand to avoid distress to the bereaved. The coroner may then complete Form 100A and send this to the registrar to allow registration.
The following resources and links will be useful in interpreting the rules:
- Coronavirus Act expiry: Death certification and registration easements from 25 March 2022 - this document summarises arrangements for death certification and registration after the Coronavirus Act expires on 24 March 2022.
- Completing a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death: process from 25 March 2022 - flowchart from the Royal College of Pathologists on completion of the medical certificate cause of death.
- COVID-19: death certification and cremation - link to BMA guidance page on verification and certification of death and cremation.
All these resources can also be found on the LMC’s Coronavirus guidance page.