Amended and unsatisfactory certificates

How to amend a submitted Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and information about unsatisfactory certificates.

If you submitted a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, then find that some details on it are incorrect, you can submit an amended certificate to replace the original.

On this page:

Amend a Death Documents certificate

If you completed the original Medical Certificate of Cause of Death certificate via Death Documents, simply make your updates by logging into the Death Documents website.

Your submitted certificates are listed under the heading 'Recently completed documents'.

  1. Select the Amend button. It opens to a page called 'Amending a previously completed document'.
  2. Make your updates and save, then go to the Declarations page to review the changed document.
  3. To submit your amended form, select Confirm and print.

To view an example of how to make an amendment on the Death Documents website, watch the video at 8 minutes from the start: Welcome to Death Documents – YouTube.

Amend an HP4720 paper certificate

If you completed a paper version of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (HP4720), you will need to:

  • complete a new certificate in full
  • sign and date it with the current date
  • write ‘Amended Certificate’ at the top of the certificate
  • return the certificate to the correct government agencies.

Return an HP4720 paper certificate

You must either email or post in your amended HP4720 certificate.

By email:

Attach the  document in an email and send to both:

By post:

  • Mortality Administration
    Ministry of Health
    PO Box 5013
    Wellington 6145

What happens next:

  • The Ministry of Health and the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Registry teams will update their records with the changes.
  • The cause of death coding will be reviewed and updated if required.
  • Official BDM Death certificates are issued with the correct information.

Unsatisfactory certificates

Sometimes a completed certificate is unsatisfactory due to missing or non-specific information.

It is an important responsibility of the Ministry of Health to seek clarification and/or additional information from the certifying health practitioner to allow more precise statistical classification. Inquiries are kept to a minimum.

The cooperation of doctors and nurse practitioners in responding promptly to these inquiries is appreciated.

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