The Ministry of Health published a new guideline in July 2015 regarding Verifying Death:

Who can verify that a person is dead?
"Medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and intensive care paramedics are authorised by the Chief Coroner to verify death."

Issues relevant to Funeral Directors:

  • "In cases where the death was expected and is explainable as the result of an illness, for example, in aged care or palliative care settings, a funeral director may remove the body providing the medical practitioner who has agreed to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death commits to do so within the legally specified time.

  • "There is no legal requirement for death to be verified before a body is removed, however, in many cases the funeral industry expects that a health practitioner will verify death prior to the funeral director taking over the care of the body." (page 1)

  • "The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is required before a body can be embalmed, buried or cremated. " (page 3)