About the Death Documents project

The Ministry of Health is working with the Department of Internal Affairs to make it simpler to complete the necessary medical documents required after a person dies.

Benefits of using Death Documents

Here's some key reasons for using the Death Documents online service compared to submitting paper certificates:

  • It is easier for health practitioners to complete the forms accurately.
  • Health practitioners can complete the forms anywhere, anytime, on any device with internet access including computer, tablet and mobile devices.
  • Documents submitted online are sent to the Ministry of Health within 24 hours in a simple, connected and trusted way. It means that notification to the health sector about someone’s death happens more quickly and reduces the risk of an appointment reminder being sent to a deceased person.
  • Documents submitted online are immediately available for funeral directors to view. This means they can commence the burial and cremation arrangements sooner, and it is easier for them to register the death with the Department of Internal Affairs.

What's now available

  • Medical practitioners and nurse practitioners can complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (HP4720) and Cremation Forms B and AB online on the Death Documents website.
  • The online cause of death and cremation forms are integrated to minimise the duplication of information entered by the health practitioner. They can then be printed out as separate certificates, each containing the required information.
  • Forms completed online can also be amended online.
  • Once registered to use Death Documents the medical or nurse practitioner's name and business contact details will auto populate into any new certificate they complete online.
  • Integration with the National Health Index (NHI) is available to pre-populate the deceased person’s details to make it quicker for health practitioners to complete the forms.
  • Faster updating of the dates of death on the NHI.
  • Nurse practitioners can complete cremation forms online as well as cause of death certificates. This reflects passing of the Cremation Amendment Regulations 2018.
  • Funeral directors can view, download a PDF or print the online medical certificates and cremation forms.
  • Health practitioners no longer need to print and sign the digital certificates for funeral directors as the funeral directors can access them online. However, where death occurred in hospital your hospital may require you to print a copy of the medical certificate of cause of death to file in the patient's notes.
  • Health practitioners can now search for and view documents completed by other health practitioners. If the certifying practitioner is not available and a printed copy of the form is required a practitioner can search for and view, print or download the certificate.
  • Medical referees can now search for and view documents that they are required to referee. Note: granting Permission to Cremate (Form F) is still paper based for the time being.

Read about the latest updates made to the Death Documents online service in Roll-out updates.

Future enhancements

Future enhancements to Death Documents include:

  • allow medical referees to grant Permission to Cremate (Form F) online

  • access to Death Documents for qualified hospital mortuary technicians 
  • notification of deaths to Department of Internal Affairs
  • Certificate of Causes of Fetal and Neonatal Death HP4721
  • access to Death Documents for midwives (to complete HP4721)
  • exploring the possibility of creating a single sign-on and PMS integration.

Help the uptake of Death Documents

Spread the word

Adoption of the Death Documents online service is important to enable its full benefits to be realised.

We want you to share the benefits of using Death Documents with health practitioners who regularly complete these forms.

Share resources

Some resources have been specifically developed to enable you to engage your teams in the use of the Death Documents website. You can:

  • keep up to date by visiting our Death Documents project page for project implementation information
  • share the podcast interview of a medical referee discussing the accurate information needed when certifying cause of death
  • share the Death Documents - Getting started handout with doctors and nurse practitioners. It explains how to get started in Death Documents.

Go to the resources page for more details: Roll-out resources.

Become a champion

The Ministry is seeking champions of the Death Documents service within each district health board, primary health organisation and other stakeholder groups. Find out more about the role of a champion in the section: Death Documents: Champions.

Send us your feedback

Improvements to the Death Documents online service is ongoing and we encourage you to let us know how the online processes can be further improved. To provide feedback you can:

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