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Impact of Registration Delays on Mortality Statistics, 2011

The information used to produce mortality statistics is based on the details collected when deaths are certified and registered.

In England and Wales, deaths should be registered within five days of the death occurring, but there are some situations which result in the registration of the death being delayed. Deaths considered unexpected, accidental or suspicious will be referred to a coroner who may order a post mortem or carry out a full inquest to ascertain the reasons for the death.

The coroner can only register the death once any investigation is concluded and they are satisfied that the death was natural and that the cause of death has been certified correctly.

The time taken to investigate the circumstances of the death can often result in a death registration exceeding the five day grace period and these are defined as registration delays. While delays are commonly only a few days, registration delays can extend into years.

This paper (12.3 Kb Pdf) provides an overview of the impact of registration delays on data quality.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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