Death certification in Scotland

Arrangements for death certification and registration in Scotland changed in 2015.  

One of the main changes is the establishment of the Death Certification Review Service which is run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. The review service checks on the accuracy of a sample of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs). An MCCD is the form a doctor completes when someone has died.

Our reviews are designed to:

  • improve the accuracy of MCCDs
  • provide better quality information about causes of death so that health services can be better prepared for the future, and
  • ensure that the processes around death certification are robust and have appropriate safeguards in place.

You can find information on all aspects of the Death Certification Review Service by following the links below:

Review service information
Information on the process behind the Death Certification Review Service, including:

  • Advance registration
    If the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death you bring to the registrar is selected for review, but the funeral has to take place within a certain timescale, you can apply for advance registration.
  • Interested person reviews
    If you have questions or concerns about the content of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death after speaking to the doctor, or if these occur to you at a later stage, you can ask us to carry out an interested person review.
  • What happens when deaths abroad occur
    Arrangements for burial and cremation of a person who has died outside of the UK, and will be returned to Scotland.

Questions and answers
A selection of common questions and answers on the arrangements for Death Certification in Scotland

Complaints and feedback
Information on how complaints and feedback relating to the Death Certification Review Service will be managed.

Resources and publications
Links to all of our publications, information leaflets and forms relating to Death Certification

Educational support
Educational support and resources for GP Practices, Hospitals, NHS Boards, District Registrars and Funeral Directors.

Death Certification Review Service Annual Report: 2016-2017
This report marks the end of the second year of the service’s work in ensuring improved accuracy and quality of completion of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs).

Contact us
For further information about the review service, you can:

Healthcare Improvement Scotland Death Certification Review Service
Norseman House

2 Ferrymuir
South Queensferry
EH30 9QZ.