FEES for cremation forms signed by doctors no longer apply in Scotland, as a new system of death certification has come into effect.
The crematoria medical referee system has been abolished, meaning that next of kin will no longer have to pay around £170 for paperwork relating to their loved one’s cremation.
The move will save bereaved families around £5.5 million every year.
Under the Certification of Death Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament, the quality and accuracy of death certificates is also hoped to improve.
According to government sources, this will create a better understanding of the actual causes of death, allowing NHS resources to be targeted more effectively. It may also provide better healthcare information to families to enable them to manage their own health where some conditions may run in families.
For the first time, relatives will have the right to request a review of the information on the certificate if they have any concerns. Reviews will be carried out by an independent team at Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Assistance with post-mortem examinations will also be provided to bereaved families dealing with a death that has happened abroad. Families will be able to apply for assistance, including financial assistance, to arrange for a post-mortem.