Cremation form changes

The Death Management, Miscarriages of Justice Compensation, Inquiries and Coroners (DMIC) has introduced legislation to remove the cremation certificate (form Cremation 5), and this came into effect on 25 March 2022.

In addition, the medical examiner scheme has been rolled out on a non-statutory basis to all acute settings and is in the process of being rolled out across non-acute settings. The government is working towards implementing the statutory medical examiner system from April 2023.

As set out in the 2016 consultation on the Introduction of medical examiners and reforms to death certification in England and Wales, the scrutiny provided by the statutory medical examiners will replace the current arrangements for completing form Cremation 4. DMIC intends to remove the requirement to complete form Cremation 4 when the statutory medical examiner scheme is in place in all settings.

The consultation also set out the intention to remove medical referees upon implementation of the statutory medical examiner scheme.

There is concern from crematoria and from within the funeral sector that new processes will need to be developed and that at least six months’ notice will be needed to implement any changes associated with medical referees. DMIC will liaise with crematoria and the funeral sector for their help on new cremation guidance. Considering the lead-in time required to implement the new processes, DMIC has taken the decision to retain medical referees for a transitionary period once the statutory medical examiner scheme has been implemented, to ensure continuity and that any required process changes are identified.

DMIC will give sufficient time to enable the medical examiner scheme to be fully established and will work with the funeral sector before removing the role of the medical referee. This will ensure that everyone within the sector is ready for the forthcoming changes.

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