Ethics England Wales

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Cremation regulations

On 1 January 2009 new Cremation Regulations for England and Wales were published by the Ministry of Justice to help prevent another Harold Shipman-type murderer.

The regulations affect all medical practitioners who are involved in completing medical forms for cremation purposes.

Under the 2009 regulations bereaved families can inspect the medical forms of a deceased family member before a cremation takes place as well as draw the medical referee's attention to any concerns about unexpected symptoms or discrepancies in the case.

Changes were made to the medical forms Cremation 4 (replacing form B) and Cremation 5 (replacing form C).

All Medical practitioners and Medical Referees involved in this process should be familiar with the forms and should read the Ministry of Justices' guidance documents.

The Regulations were an interim measure and precede longer-term Department of Health plans to create the role of a Medical Examiner, who will deal with all deaths.

Get the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, forms and guidance for practitioners.