Here’s an interesting story from the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. These are some extracts:
CIRENCESTER Hospital has closed its mortuary to avoid a massive refurbishment bill and awarded the service to a local funeral directors.
The Tetbury Road hospital, decided to shut down its mortuary earlier this year after discovering it would need a major refurbishment to stay fit for use estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was given permission by the NHS Trust to outsource its mortuary service.
The NHS hospital put the contract out to tender and all three Cirencester funeral directors- Cowley and Son, A Slade and Son, and Packer and Slade – submitted bids.
The three-year contract has been awarded to Cowley and Son, on Victoria Road. Robert Orford, part-owner Cowley and Sons, said he was pleased with the new arrangement … “It is a great thing for the hospital too because their current mortuary is unfit for use so they have saved vast sums of money from not having to refurbish it.” … Mr Orford stressed that the agreement would not force families to choose Cowley and Sons as their funeral directors. “Bereaved families have a free choice,” he said. “We don’t have a monopoly on people who die at Cirencester hospital.” He said Cowley and Sons would not receive payment from the NHS for the service. “We have competitors in the town and we have to do all we can to get a step ahead,” he added. “This could be a great opportunity for us.”
There are troubling issues here. How much would it really cost Cirencester hospital to refurbish its mortuary? All it needs is cooling equipment, a serviceable floor and tiled walls. Twenty grand, tops? Hundreds of thousands??
Then there’s the NHS assertion that it asked all three funeral directors in the town to tender. I spoke on the phone to A Slade and Son. They say they were never asked. Dunno about the other undertaker’s — they’re Co-op.
Then there’s the Cowley and Sons’ zero-sum tender. Why on earth would they do that? Philanthropy? Hardly. As with a coroner’s contract, they know that the undertaker with the body is likely to get the funeral. Habeas corpse.
Do you like this any more than me? Redeeming features, please. If none, then any features you please to point out or reinforce.