Written Answers. - Death Certificates.

Bernard Allen

Question:

508 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans he has to alter the format of a death certificate in view of recent comments made by a general practitioner who said that the cause of death given for thousands of people every year may be incorrect due to the limitations of the death certificate. [19255/00]

The administration of the registration system is a matter for An tÁrd Chláitheoir (the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages) and for local registrars who operate under his general direction.

The particulars to be recorded in the register of deaths are set out in the Births and Deaths Acts, 1863 to 1966, and in regulations made under those Acts. The Acts provide that all deaths occurring in Ireland should be registered, in the registrar's district in which they occurred, as soon as possible. The person registering the death (the qualified informant) must produce to the registrar a medical certificate of cause of death signed by a registered medical practitioner who treated the deceased within 28 days before the death. This certificate will state, as appropriate, the disease or condition directly leading to the death, the approximate interval between onset and death, antecedent causes and other significant conditions. The registrar records cause of death as set out in the medical certificate of cause of death.

However, if the Deputy is aware of a problem in relation to the registration of a particular death perhaps he would communicate the details so that the matter can be investigated.