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The Government has cited 'cost' and 'bureaucracy' as reasons for not
reforming death certification, as recommended by the Luce report and by
Dame Janet Smith's report into the Shipman affair.
Both excuses ignore the recommendation in both reports to abolish the
cost and bureaucracy of the 'cremation form' system.
The majority of deaths in the UK are followed by cremation. For
every cremation, these archaic and flawed forms are completed and fees of
over £100 are charged. If 'crem. forms' were abolished, could this money
not be used to fund a modern death certification system?
The crucial difference is that cremation form fees are paid by the
bereaved, not the state. This proposal would abolish a 'stealth tax' on
the bereaved, and transfer the cost to the exchequer, to be funded from
The author has in the past benefitted financially from cremation form fees