Update from the National Association of Funeral Directors:
You may be aware of the media coverage this morning relating to Midcounties Cooperative.
In line with our commitment to uphold standards within the profession we have been working closely with Midcounties Cooperative today and sent a team of Standards and Quality Managers over to the branch.
Our inspectors found that coffins are no longer stored on the racking pictured and those stored in this area of the building were, in fact, empty.
Further, Ben Reid, Chief Executive Officer of Midcounties Co-operative, has confirmed publicly that those pictured in the media coverage were also empty. Minor remedial maintenance was being undertaken which will restore it to a properly functioning storage area.
In response to our initial enquiries Midcounties Cooperative have assured us they are increasing their own internal inspection regime to ensure this error is not repeated.
Along with Midcounties Cooperative we have been taking steps today to reassure the public that this is a high performing funeral home and, further, that the public can be confident in choosing any NAFD member firm, not only because of the high standards our members abide by but because of our swift and thorough approach to working with our members to address any concerns that may come to light.
William Millar, President, National Association of Funeral Directors
View from Ben Reid, ceo Midcounties Co-op:
“It appears that this is an ex-employee who has taken photos and fed a customer’s detail to The Sun. That breach of data will be investigated to the full.” Mr Reid added that after being alerted to The Sun’s story, he visited the Walsall funeral home early on Wednesday morning, prior to staff arrival, and saw no issues that would cause him concern if he had a loved one in the home’s care. Any issues were not about care of the deceased, but more about interior standards, he said. “Could we refresh it? Yes we could. Could it do with a lick of paint? Yes it could. Do I think that the people we are caring for are being disrespected in any way? No I do not.” [Source]
What’s interesting here is Mr Reid’s typically combative we-know-best response. This is the second time in less than 4 years that Funeralcare has been exposed for its behind-the-scenes body-storage arrangements. As a commercial operator Mr Reid needs to acknowledge that the requirements of consumers are paramount. If they didn’t like what they saw in that Sun photo, Mr Reid, you messed up. End of. Put your hands in the air and say sorry. Don’t do it again.