These are the changes to registering deaths and births in Lancashire during the coronavirus outbreak

Deaths in Lancashire must now be registered over the phone as part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 6:03 pm

Previously, the process was carried out in person at one of the county's registration offices.

The new arrangements apply to all deaths - irrespective of whether they are suspected to be as a result of Covid-19.

It is also hoped that the changes will speed up the process and minimise any delay before a funeral can take place. The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that no such delays are currently being experienced in the county.

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Registering deaths and births in Lancashire has changed

The registration service will now automatically be notified of deceased persons by the medic who issues the death certificate. This will be sent electronically to the department, which will then contact the late individual's family to arrange a convenient time to register the death over the phone.

The changes have been made possible by emergency government legislation amending existing rules around death certification and registration.

Steve Lloyd, Lancashire County Council's registration service manager, said that the move to phone registration was "vital...to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by minimising the need for people to have face-to-face contact".

"The death of a loved one is always a difficult time - and potentially even more so during the current health crisis. This should make things a bit easier for families, as they will wait for us to contact them and won’t need to come into the office.

"We have been working closely with partners in the health service over recent days to bring in these changes and will be working hard to continue to deliver a high standard of service to bereaved families.

"I hope that people will understand the need for this change to the process and I'm grateful for their understanding and cooperation at this challenging time," Mr. Lloyd added.

Five of Lancashire's twelve registration offices have closed indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic - Clitheroe, Morecambe, Nelson, Rawtenstall and St Annes. The others currently remain operational.

BIRTH REGISTRATIONS SUSPENDED

All appointments to register a birth have been deferred "for the foreseeable future", Lancashire County Council has said.

It follows the government's decision to relax the 42-day limit for birth registration.

New parents are being advised to take no action for now - other than to monitor the authority's website for updates in due course.