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“Unacceptable” funeral delays, claim

Created on 16/01/2018 @ 09:47
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Families are facing “unacceptable” delays for funerals to take place due to issues at Emstrey Crematorium in Shrewsbury, it has been claimed.

Families have been in contact to say that they are having to wait up to four weeks for a slot, with some funeral directors using Aberystwyth or other alternatives instead.

Montgomeryshire MP, Glyn Davies, described any delays as “unacceptable” and said that he is “hearing different versions of the situation”, with one side telling him that there is spare capacity at Shrewsbury while “at the same time being told bodies are awaiting cremation at The Royal Shrewsbury”.

It is believed that an emergency meeting is taking place at Shropshire Council on Wednesday with local funeral directors meeting Dignity PLC, the Midlands-based company that manage the facility.

Last night the company moved quickly to clarify the situation, siting that urgent work is needed on the Shrewsbury site, despite already spending £1 million, and also that families are choosing to have funerals on Mondays or Fridays with other days still available.

“In the last fortnight there have been 13 service times at Emstrey Crematorium that have not been taken,” a Dignity spokesperson told us.

“We would be happy to discuss with Mr. Davies any concerns that have been raised by his constituents. Our Crematoria Director would also be happy to give him a guided tour of the facility and show him our £1 million investment in the crematorium.

“In the UK the average time between date of death and day of the funeral is 17 days at any time of the year. At Emstrey Crematorium there are currently services available on February 3.

“As a national crematoria operator we have noticed an increasing trend for families asking that the funeral takes place on a particular day. Mondays and Fridays are the most popular for those with relatives travelling long distances to the funeral. Therefore, some families are choosing to wait for the service time they want to become available.

“When Dignity acquired Emstrey Crematorium in 2016, the equipment we inherited from the previous operator was of a poor standard and has now suffered a serious breakdown. We were planning to install new equipment this year but have now brought forward this project which will improve services long-term. The work is expected to take three weeks during which time there will be a reduction in the number of services Monday to Friday but we are providing services on Saturday at no extra cost to families.

“All Funeral Directors have been advised and we have been working closely with the Public Health Department and Shropshire County Council to ensure the best possible service throughout this period.”


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