During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Elkin & Bell Funeral Directors in Gosport want to reassure you that we are taking every possible step to adapt the way we are working, ensuring we can help compassionately with the health and well-being of all in mind.
The government has removed the remaining domestic restrictions in England. There are still steps you can take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19; we have also provided some helpful links:
The chapel at Anns Hill Cemetery is now available to be used for funeral services.
There is seating for approximately 30 people. Alternatively, you are still able to hold services at other venues, or at the graveside.
The requirements for issuing a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and completing Cremation Form 4 from 25 March will be the same.
The Coronavirus Act 2020, which introduced easements to death certification processes and cremation forms, expires at midnight on 24 March 2022. Some changes have been retained permanently through other measures, and other methods revert to previous practice.
The key points are:
- A certifying doctor must have attended the Deceased in their last illness and either has seen them 28 days before death or after death. It is not acceptable for a doctor to have only been involved in the case for the first time after death.
- The provision temporarily allowing any medical practitioner to complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and cremation form, introduced as a temporary measure by the Coronavirus Act, will be discontinued.
- The second part (Form 5) cremation form is not being reintroduced.
- Video consultations (but not phone consultations) remain acceptable methods of ‘seeing’ a person in the last 28 days of their life but are not permitted after death.
- If a doctor has not attended the Deceased in their last illness or if they attended the Deceased in their last illness but cannot satisfy the other regulations re: having personally seen the Deceased in the 28 days before death or after death, they must refer the case to the Coroner for discussion to establish if the Coroner is content for them to issue a death certificate.
The most significant change is that from 25 March, it will no longer be acceptable for a doctor who has not seen the Deceased either before (within 28 days) or after death to complete the forms (unless with the Coroner’s approval)
The Coronavirus Act 2020 expires at midnight on 24 March 2022, meaning that all deaths and still-births will need to be registered in person after this date as the provision to register by telephone will no longer be in force. As part of this change, Funeral Directors will no longer be able to act as qualified informants to register a death.
Under The Births and Deaths Registration (Electronic Communications and Electronic Storage) Order 2021 (the 2021 Order) made on 2 November 2021, this allows for new arrangements relating to the electronic transmission of certain registration documents in the future.
These are summarised as follows:
• Medical Certificate of Cause of Death can be sent electronically by medical practitioners (without the requirement for the paper certificate to be forwarded).
• Disposal certificates (Green Form) can be electronically issued to the Funeral Director.
To prepare for these changes, Hampshire Registration will need to remove the ability to book a death appointment online from 16th – 25th March 2022 to make changes to their booking system.
Families are asked to call the 0300 555 1392 number to request an appointment. Where who will take your details, and one of the registration team will ring back the same day to book an appointment.
Hampshire Registration has also worked hard to ensure that they have sufficient appointments available so not to cause any delays to families.
What has changed:
In England, face coverings are no longer required by law. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not usually meet.
For this guidance, the phrase ‘commemorative event’ includes events and rituals such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes, and wakes. Such events may take place before or following the funeral.
There are no legal limits on the number of people who can attend funerals or commemorative events. Those attending, arranging or managing such events should consider that it may be harder to manage the risk of spreading COVID-19 if spaces are crowded, and venue operators may set their limits.
It is essential to take steps to protect yourselves and others from COVID-19. This is particularly true for funerals, where the risk of COVID-19 may be higher due to the attendance of people who have a legal exemption to attend a funeral during self-isolation or quarantine and who either have or are at higher risk of having COVID-19.
Anyone who has the main symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your usual sense of taste or smell) should not attend a funeral unless an exemption applies. You should immediately self-isolate, follow the stay-at-home guidance, request a test online, or contact NHS 119 via telephone if you do not have internet access.
Key actions for those attending, arranging or managing a funeral or commemorative event Government guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 advises:
There may be additional risks to consider when attending a funeral. The guidance below outlines actions to take when attending, arranging or managing a funeral, or commemorative event.
Stay at home if you have the main COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test result, or are in quarantine
Due to the risk you may pose to others, you should not attend if you have the main COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops the main symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate immediately, follow the stay at home guidance, and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild.
Stay at home and self-isolate if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have a positive LFD or PCR test result. Self-isolation will help protect your family, friends and the wider community by reducing the risk that you will pass the infection on to others.
If you have been notified that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 but are not legally required to self-isolate (for example, because you are fully vaccinated), you are strongly advised to take additional precautions when attending a funeral.
Some individuals have a legal exemption to briefly leave self-isolation or quarantine following recent international travel in order to attend a funeral. These exemptions do not apply to attending a commemorative event.
Unless an exemption applies, you must not attend a funeral if any of the following apply:
Consider limiting close contact
Social distancing measures no longer apply and you do not need to stay 2 metres apart (or 1 metre plus mitigations) at a funeral or commemorative event. However, limiting close contact reduces the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19.
Given the exemption for some people to briefly leave self-isolation or quarantine to attend funerals, you may choose to limit the close contact you have with other people. You may also choose to take a rapid LFD test before attending the funeral to help manage the risk of close contact. If the test is positive you should follow the stay at home guidance and you should not attend the funeral unless you are exempt. You should also not attend a commemorative event. If you do attend, it is especially important to wear a face covering and limit close contact. There is more information on LFD tests available.
It is important to consider that others may wish to take a more cautious approach. We should all be considerate of this and provide the opportunity and space for others to reduce close contacts if they wish.
In England, people who receive a positive lateral flow test for COVID-19 won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. They should continue to self-isolate.
1: BOOK AN APPOINTMENT To protect you, our team, and the wider community, we ask that you contact us to make an appointment before visiting the office.
2: While it is not required by law to wear a mask, if you feel more comfortable wearing one, please let us know when you make your appointment, and we will ensure our staff do too.
3: USE HAND GEL We have provided anti-bacterial hand gel for your use when arriving and leaving the office.
4: PLEASE NOTE We cannot offer light refreshments or the use of our toilet facilities at this time.
We will continue to look after everyone in our care gently and sensitively but have put procedures to ensure we safely do this.
Before collecting the person who has died, we may ask you a series of questions about coronavirus/COVID-19 and pneumonia to ensure we are best equipped to deal with your circumstances safely.
We are well prepared to take care of people who have died with coronavirus/COVID-19 in line with the official guidance we have received. If you are affected by coronavirus/COVID-19, we’ll still be able to help. We need to know your situation so we can bring the correct equipment.
Please be advised that our team may be wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) even when the risk is deemed low.
We’re very proud of the mortuary facilities we use, which adhere to industry codes of practice, and we usually welcome you to have a look around. However, due to the increased risk at this time, we can no longer allow members of the public into the mortuary space or be involved in washing and dressing the person who has died.
We are working closely with our colleagues throughout the funeral profession to ensure we can offer the same high standards you would normally expect from us during this unprecedented time. Whatever you’re going through, we’re here to guide and support you.
Words and Layout Copyright © 2023 Elkin & Bell Funerals Ltd.
186 Nobes Avenue, Bridgemary, Hampshire PO13 0HY
Registered in England & Wales.
Company Registration Number: 11888343
All Rights Reserved.
Photographs on this webpage are subject to fair usage and are sourced from Unsplash, the Good Funeral Guide 'Inspirational Funerals' and the business owners of the companies we work alongside.
Elkin & Bell Funerals Ltd accept payment by debit/credit card powered by Square, bank transfer, cheque & cash
Elkin & Bell Funerals ©Richard Elkin & Hayley Bell