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Call for pandemic changes on registering a death to be restored to help families

The dramatic rise in the time taken to register a death is causing untold distress and delaying funerals, says Pure Cremation.

The direct cremation provider is calling on government to reintroduce changes made to legislation on how deaths can be registered during the height of the Covid pandemic.

The company is urging Parliament to reinstate a provision in the Coronavirus Act 2020, allowing deaths to be registered by phone rather than in-person, to both ease the burden on bereaved families and on local Registrars.

The call comes after government removed all temporary powers in March this year – two years after the Act was passed by the UK Parliament in order to allow public bodies to respond to the pandemic.

But Pure Cremation believes that forcing individuals to return to registering deaths in-person at a registry office is adding unnecessary trauma and suffering, with some families waiting weeks for an appointment.

David Collingwood (pictured), Managing Director of At Need Services said: “For the past two years, individuals have been allowed to register a death by phone, making the whole, heart-breaking process quicker, easier and less traumatic.

“The temporary legislation allowed family members to proceed with funeral arrangements immediately, as the death certificate would be emailed at the point of the phone call. All of this helped to prevent any prolonged suffering for those left behind, allowing them to begin their journey of saying goodbye.

“The Coronavirus Acts showed how allowing the appropriate use of tried and tested technology delivered a huge benefit to bereaved families and the funeral professionals who serve them. Reverting to out-dated paper systems and in-person appointments is causing unnecessary suffering and overloading the system.

“Doctors have been allowed to continue the new process of emailing the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) to the Registrar, and so it makes sense to preserve a more efficient and humane registration process too.”

Pure Cremation, an independent, family-run business, has been providing direct cremations since 2015 offering families a new choice in how they say goodbye to their loved ones. 

Against a backdrop of ever-increasing funeral costs coupled with a genuine desire to break away from tradition, direct cremation has grown in popularity and now accounts for over 18% of all UK funerals.1

David added: “We believe it’s important that we do all we can to make one of the most difficult times in a person’s life more bearable, minimising stress wherever we can.”

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