Sudden Death on Practice Premises

Beyond the immediate clinical need of a patient – if a patient is declared dead on the premises how should you proceed?

If the death is sudden and unexpected you will need to contact the coroner via the police. The police will arrange for transport of the body from your site – the coroner may wish to see the body and ambulances’ priority is to living patients even if they have been in attendance.

Remind all of your team involved to make careful notes of events in case of future need, and inform:

  • Area Team
  • CQC (see below)

If you are in rented premises check your lease and any requirements to report death on site.

Good practice would include carrying out a Significant Event Audit and discussion at a practice meeting for learning

Further reading

How do I notify CQC about the death of a person who uses the service? These notifications must be submitted without delay.

‘Without delay’ is the timescale requirement for a number of notifications. It means exactly what it says – that you should submit relevant notifications as quickly as possible after the event has happened.

Providers and managers of NHS GP and other primary medical services do not need to notify CQC about every death of a person using the service.  However, deaths must be notified where:

  • The death occurred while regulated activity was actually being provided. For example, while a patient was actually in consultation with their GP, while at their health centre or surgery, or during a home visit.


  • The death occurred within two weeks of regulated activity being provided (as above)


  • The death was or may have been the result of the regulated activity or how it was provided


  • In your reasonable opinion, the death could not be attributed to the course which the illness or medical condition would naturally have taken if the deceased had been receiving appropriate care and treatment.

For example, you do not need to notify us if a cancer patient with a terminal diagnosis died the week after an appointment for pain relieving medication. This is because the patient the disease took its predictive course, and the appointment for pain relief did not contribute to their death in any way.

CQC – GP Mythbuster 21 deals with this subject

General information about sudden death in patients:


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