Bereavement Service

Bereavement Services during the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic

We are so very sorry for the loss of your relative or friend. The time after bereavement can be difficult and distressing, especially during the current circumstances. Our Bereavement Team will help guide you through the next steps of registering the death and the process of returning any personal belongings to you.

Please contact the Bereavement Team by the next working day following the death of your loved one. They are available Monday to Friday 08:00 – 16:00. Their contact details are:

0117 414 0180 / 0181 / 0182
• Or email
Please provide your name, contact details and name of the deceased. If the telephone is not answered you can leave a message and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

For more information on death registration, funeral arrangements, collection of personal belongings and bereavement support, please take the time to read what to do when someone died during COVID

Funeral arrangements

You may wish to appoint and contact a funeral director before collecting the Certificate of Cause of Death. The funeral director will require the White Form of Authorisation (release form) issued by Bereavement Services.

Financial assistance toward the cost of the funeral may be available if you or your partner is receiving Income Support, Family Credit or Housing Benefit. For more information telephone 0845 606 0265.


If cremation is planned the hospital has to arrange for 2 doctors to sign the cremation form. The funeral director will require this form to finalise arrangements and will collect directly from the Hospital.


In line with visiting restrictions in effect from Tuesday 3 November 2020, viewings of the deceased by family and friends are not permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

These exceptional circumstances include:

  • where loved ones haven’t been able to visit the patient prior to their death;
  • where the deceased cannot be transferred to an undertaker for any reason; and
  • where the deceased is a child or baby. 

If these circumstances apply to you, please contact the bereavement team to arrange your viewing before travelling.

Medical examiner

Following a bereavement, many families seek reassurance that their loved one was properly cared for in hospital and want to understand the circumstances surrounding their death.

The Medical Examiner service has been introduced in England and Wales to increase understanding and peace of mind for families, as well as improve learning and patient safety in hospital by providing a review of care. This new service will be introduced into law in 2022.

Medical Examiners are independent senior doctors who have not been involved in the care of the person who has died. Talking with a Medical Examiner can help you to understand the cause and circumstances of death. It also provides an opportunity to discuss any issues, concerns, or feedback regarding care that you may have with an independent team.

Our team of Medical Examiners and Medical Examiner Officers work closely alongside existing Bereavement Services. If you would like to get in touch, please call the Medical Examiner Office and a member of our team would be happy to speak to you.

Contact details:

The Sanctuary (Gate 30, Level One), Brunel Building, Southmead Hospital

Office hours – 08.30-16.30

0117 414 3447/3448

Looking ahead

The time ahead may be a very difficult one for you. If you have any further questions please, contact a member of the bereavement services team.

Contact Bereavement Services

Level 1, Brunel building, Southmead Hosptial
Front desk: 0117 4140180
Main office: 0117 4140181
0117 4140182