The Paperwork of Death – The Green

Second in this series exploring the paperwork that is involved in death I am going to be looking at the Certificate for Burial or Cremation, also known as The Green. Often when a funeral director or other official person collecting a patient arrives they will let us know that they have a copy of the green. This is obviously called the green because, well, it is green.

This certificate is what the registrar would give you at the registry office or hospital once you have shown them the MCCD. In COVID times this is working slightly differently as all correspondence is completed over the phone, however I have to assume that one day the face to face appointments will resume. Each green form has its own number and details the persons name, age, place of death and date of death. Upon seeing this we are able to confirm that the death has been registered, which confirms that the former paperwork has been completed and we are able to release that person.

When the family are issued with this green form they can take this along to the funeral director they have chosen who will use the form to officially bury the deceased. Cremation works slightly differently and there are further forms that I will be looking at in future parts. If a family were to arrange the funeral themselves then they would take the green form direct to the burial ground who would use it to confirm the burial can take place.

One aspect slightly different and perhaps not in all mortuaries is that we cannot release on a copy of the green form alone. We also require a further form of our own design that is completed by the representative of the company collecting. By completing that further form we confirm that the representative knows the patients date of birth, home address and next of kin details which confirm to us that we are releasing to the correct person. If a family member collects, which can happen although rare, then they fill out this form also. We know this form works and is best, plus we recently found out another hospital are using our form too! To collect these details is part of our Human Tissue Authority license to operate the mortuary and we take this very seriously.

Only one copy of this form exists, so it is important that is it not lost and causes slight panic if someone turns up at the mortuary with the original copy and then leaves it behind (as once happened to me on Boxing Day when on call). Only once have I seen the need to replace this form be acknowledged and it was reissued, this is rare for many reasons but at a basic level two forms existing for the same person give two chances at burial which could lead to something very suspicious. A registrar who visited the mortuary for a tour a while ago told us that these replacement forms are in fact yellow so would flag up if used.

If you have any further questions about this form or have any others you would like me to cover please get in touch. As with the MCCD the information from this post has come from my own knowledge and if you notice any errors or additions please get in touch also.

MG x

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