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Bereavement Service

The Bereavement Service is here to offer practical and emotional support to the immediate family or next of kin of anyone who dies as a patient of the Trust.

Service update February 2023

Since the pandemic we have been unable to offer face to face bereavement appointments to families on our hospital sites, but we do have a plan that ensures delays in paperwork are kept to a minimum.

We are still available for you to speak to by telephone about any concerns, and answer questions about the process of registering a death, and what information you will need.

Not all offices have a member of staff permanently present, as staff move between sites as required, but all answerphones are checked on a regular basis, so please do leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

We work closely with the Coroner's Service, the Oxfordshire Registration Service and local funeral directors to ensure that the bereaved have access to all the information and services they need, and this will continue.

When necessary, we will refer families to the appropriate Coroner's Officer.

Information for families

We have leaflets for families which give details of specialist support services, and also offer leaflets by other agencies, such as 'What to do after a death', and the SF200 claim form for help with the cost of a funeral for bereaved families who receive qualifying benefits.

We can send these in the post or by email.

Leaflet: Bereavement Services - what happens next? (pdf)

Death registration

Unfortunately we are no longer able to offer death registration for adults or babies at Oxford University Hospitals.

We cannot currently see families on site in person, but we will call you, and we are available to answer your questions during our normal office hours. We will send the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) directly to the Registration Service. We will phone you when we have done this, so that you can make an appointment.

When we confirm the paperwork is ready and sent through, we will give you the number to call, to book an appointment.

Where religious / cultural needs mean burials have to take place as soon as possible, we will process the paperwork as quickly as we can, and the Registration Service will offer you the earliest possible appointment, so that your loved one's body can be released to you.

The named next of kin will need to complete an Authorisation for the Release of a Deceased Patient Form, and register the death before their body can be released.

Death registration can be carried out at the Oxford Register Office, or at the Witney, Banbury, Bicester, Abingdon, Didcot or Henley Registration Offices. After the death has been registered, the Registrar will email the Green Form for burial or cremation directly to your Funeral Director, if you have appointed one.

For more information please visit:

Registering a death - Oxfordshire County Council

Referral to the Coroner

If the person who has died:

  • was admitted due to a fall
  • was admitted as a result of an unnatural event (i.e. a road traffic accident, assault etc.)
  • underwent a procedure that required a general anaesthetic

there will need to be a referral to the Coroner, so there may be a slight delay in being offered an appointment with us, but please be assured we will keep in touch with you.

We will make every effort to keep these delays to a minimum, as we know this is an anxious and stressful time for all involved.

Contact us

All offices provide a service Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays.

John Radcliffe Hospital
Tel: 01865 220110 9.00am - 4.00pm (4.30pm Friday)

Churchill Hospital
Tel: 01865 225022 9.00am - 4.00pm

Horton General Hospital
Tel: 01295 229386 9.00am - 4.00pm

Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre
Please call our John Radcliffe Hospital number: 01865 220110

Post-mortems and retained organs

If you have experienced the death of a loved one in the past, and think a post-mortem examination was carried out in Oxford, and are worried that organs or tissue may have been retained, you are welcome to contact us.

Please call Gaynor Parsons, Bereavement Service Manager on the number below.

Tel: 01865 572688

Late miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death

A specialist bereavement midwife and a dedicated team provide care and support for women and their families following pregnancy loss from around 12 weeks onwards.

This includes babies who have sadly died shortly after birth.

If you have suffered a loss, we will usually care for you in a dedicated bereavement suite, where partners are also encouraged to stay.

Support with registration requirements, information relating to funerals and emotional support through the whole process is offered.

Bereavement information packs are also provided by Oxfordshire Stillbirth and Neonatal Death (Sands) in addition to hospital information leaflets.


Following the loss of your baby. What to expect when you leave hospital - taking care of your physical wellbeing (pdf)

Advice and support following the loss of your baby. What should I do now? (pdf)

If you would like to talk to someone for more information, please do contact us - details below.

Contact us

Paula Gallacher
Bereavement Specialist Midwife
John Radcliffe Hospital

Tel: 01865 227778

Paula Gallacher is the Bereavement Specialist Midwife at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

If you feel that you need further support after you have left the hospital, please contact Paula.

She works closely with bereaved families to offer practical and emotional support, and can direct families to 'Petals', the specialist counselling service available.

John Radcliffe Maternity Ashfield Fund

The Ashfield Fund, part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital and helps to care for women and their families when they have lost a baby late in pregnancy or shortly after giving birth.

The Fund helps to support the bereavement suites, funds specialist counselling for families, and provides items which enable parents to spend a little more time with their baby and create lasting and tangible memories.


Petals is a charity that provides a free specialist counselling service for women and their partners following stillbirth, neonatal death, late miscarriage and termination of pregnancy following fetal abnormalities.

Please contact them to find out more:

Learning from Bereaved Families' experiences

The Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure (MBEM) questionnaire is now given to parents at their Consultant follow-up appointment.

Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure (MBEM) questionnaire (Word, 64 KB)

Letter from Bereavement Specialist Midwife (pdf, 167 KB)

If you do not receive a copy, please either download the questionnaire above, and post it back to us at:

Patient Experience Team (MBEM)
Stable Block, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headington OX3 9DU

or email it to

For more information about this, please read the document at the link below:

Learning from Bereaved Families' experiences (pdf, 197 KB)

Finding a Rainbow Project

A 'rainbow baby' is a baby born following the loss of another baby. A rainbow is something beautiful that follows a storm, and, while it doesn't deny the storm, it offers beauty and hope of brighter days to come.

Charity 'Kicks Count' has created helpful bundles for families, both parents and siblings, in organic cotton rainbow bags.

To claim a bundle for your family, contact Paula Gallacher for your unique reference code.

Last reviewed:22 January 2024