Arranging a funeral

Bereavement Centre

The Bereavement Centre can give you advice about how to arrange a funeral, with or without using a funeral director, or if you have special religious needs. Legally we are not allowed to make recommendations.

Finding the right funeral director

It is important that you feel able to discuss all options and possibilities, even if some of your thoughts or requests might seem unusual. Most funeral directors are available 7 days a week, and are usually happy to visit you at home to help or advise you.

Contact a funeral director or the person(s) helping you as soon as possible so they can start making arrangements on your behalf. You do not need to wait until the death certificate has been issued.

The funeral director will need the green form, which is given to you by the registrar at the Registry Office, or an interim death certificate issued by the Coroner, before they can finalise any arrangements.


Prices for funerals can vary. You may want to contact several funeral directors before making your decision. Make sure you know exactly what is included in the costs, for example grave or cremation charges, place of worship charges, religious leader and doctor’s fees, as well as notices in local papers if requested.

If you receive income support, housing benefit or family credit, you can apply for help to pay for the funeral costs. These forms can be obtained from your local Jobcentre.

If you are not eligible for government support and, or, you have been refused a loan, please discuss this with the Bereavement Centre team.


If there is a will, it is important to check if it includes wishes about their funeral.


If you have decided on a cremation, please tell the Bereavement Centre staff as soon as you can. They will arrange for the doctors to do the necessary paperwork to give to the funeral director when they collect your loved one from the mortuary.

Staying in the mortuary for 30 days or more

By law, we must transfer patients to our frozen area if they are in the mortuary for 30 days or more. This is to maintain a patient’s dignity after death.

Sadly, this can cause problems with the embalming process. It could make traditional embalming impossible, and could affect the funeral service you would like for them.

We advise that you instruct your funeral director to transfer your loved one into their care before the 30-day limit.

If you have any concerns or questions about this, contact the Bereavement Centre staff or the mortuary staff, who are here to help you.

Useful information

The Natural Death Centre offers advice on arranging a funeral with or without using a funeral director. Call 01962 712 690 (National Helpline)

National Association of Funeral Directors gives support and guidance to funeral firms and the bereaved families in their care, call 0845 230 1343, email [email protected]

Cruise charity which offers bereavement support. Call the helpline 0808 808 1677

Coroners Courts Support Services for advice and help with cases referred to the Coroner. Call 0300 111 2141

Funeral Choice helps you to find funeral directors near you.

Contact us

Bereavement Centres
Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm.

Guy’s Hospital
Floor 14
Tower Wing
call 020 7188 3215

St Thomas’ Hospital
2nd floor, Block B
South Wing
call 020 7188 3198 or 020 7188 3182 or 020 7188 8965

Medical Examiner Office
Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

St Thomas's Hospital
2nd floor, Block B
South Wing
call 020 7188 9450
email [email protected]

Spiritual care team
Guy's Hospital, call 020 7188 1185
St Thomas' Hospital call 020 7188 1187

Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm
Guy’s Hospital, call 020 7188 3931
St Thomas’ Hospital call 020 7188 3928

Registering a death that occurs at Guy’s Hospital
Southwark Registry Office
34 Peckham Road
call 020 7525 7651
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Registering a death that occurs at St Thomas’ Hospital
Lambeth Registry Office
Brixton Town Hall
Brixton Hill
call 020 7926 9420
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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