Verification of Death

The Directors have once again been revising the GatDoc policy for verification of expected deaths at home, in residential care and in nursing homes. We do not share the views of some other out-of-hours providers that verification is never the role of a GP.
Generally during the out-of-hours period where nurses are involved they will verify expected death. Other suitably qualified people such as paramedics and police will also sometimes verify death.
If GatDoc is requested to verify expected death because other professionals are not available to fulfil the role, we expect duty GP’s to minimise any additional distress for surviving relatives or carers by performing verification. A GP may also be required if there is any doubt that death has taken place.
It is reasonable for GPs to ask questions to ascertain whether anyone else is available to perform verification and to prioritise care for living patients. If no-one else is available please proceed to verify but then complete a concern form for submission to the board.
Please consider any impact that delayed verification might have on distressed relatives, the care home and GP practices the following day.