If someone dies at home or outside of hospital
If the death had been expected you should let the GP know or you can call NHS 24 if out of hours. The GP or Scottish Ambulance Service will attend and should be able to confirm the death and arrange for the issuing of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (also known as a death certificate). The Police may also attend and they will liaise with any medical professionals involved (such as the doctor or paramedics). The professionals involved will support and talk you through the process.
If the death was unexpected or the GP/NHS is unable to issue the death certificate then the police would arrange for the body to be taken to the mortuary (at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital) to help establish the cause of death. Once this has been established, the Procurator Fiscal will issue a death certificate and release the body of the person who has died to the family or next of kin. You can find out more about this process on the Procurator Fiscal page.
In certain circumstances, for example where the death is because of an accident, suicide or is in some way suspicious, the police will be involved and will explain what needs to happen. They may need to speak with friends and family, and have access to the home to collect evidence. This can be very upsetting but it is essential to the investigation. It’s important to remember that the police have a responsibility to understand what has happened to the person who has died and find out if a crime has taken place. If someone had died by murder or culpable homicide there are specific supports available for the family. You can find out more about these supports on the 'If someone dies as a result of a violent crime page'.
If someone dies following a death on the road
Road safety charity Brake has created a comprehensive guide for families and individuals affected by the death of someone in a road crash.
The guide contains detailed information on what happens immediately following a death in a road crash, practical issues and information on criminal investigations and charges. The guide also includes information on legal issues including compensation claims.
- Scotland's Campaign Against Irresponsible Drivers (SCID)
A list of other support services, including contact details, is also available.