mobile phone link image
jobs page link image
follow us on facebook follow us on twitter
00  Month

Empty morgue could cost £658,681

Created on 20/05/2020 @ 10:55
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Hopes have been expressed that a mortuary set up to deal with the bodies of those who die of Covid-19 will never be needed, but it could end up costing Welsh tax payers over £650,000.

Powys County Council (PCC) cabinet members received a report on Tuesday concerning the Unit One Temporary Body Storage Facility at the Wyeside Enterprise Park at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells.

The facility has the capacity to store up to 631 bodies and has been set up to deal with a worst case scenario of deaths in Powys during the coronavirus pandemic. However, after two months, it remains empty due to the lower than expected number of deaths in the county.

Portfolio holder for Economic Development, Housing and Regulatory Services, Cllr James Evans, explained that the mortuary was a requirement of the Welsh Government who are footing the bill.

Cllr Evans said: “The First Minister (Mark Drakeford MS) outlined his expectation that local government, the NHS and funeral directors work together to ensure that additional mortuary capacity is in place across the country.

“The work that social distancing is doing and the sacrifices of staying home to protect the NHS, means that we have yet to use Unit One.”

Cllr Evans said that the council had worked closely with Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) on setting up the facility and said the site had been chosen it as it was “central” to the whole county and “easily accessible”.

Corporate Director for Economy and Environment, Nigel Brinn, told the cabinet: “The team have been absolutely tremendous in putting this together at very short notice.

“The pleasing note is, the facility is not required at this time and let’s hope that remains the case.

“If we are required unfortunately to bring it in to service, we are ready and able to do so.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, said: “I think it’s quite important that we point out that we have not paid for this facility, it’s being paid for by (Welsh) government.

“In case someone says this has been an awful waste of money, it’s something we have to have.”

The report shows that setting up the temporary mortuary has cost £124, 270. The mortuary will be on standby until March 2021, and this is estimated to cost £658,681. The facility will be staffed on a rota basis by three teams of at least six workers.

The report adds that use of Unit One would only start when all existing mortuary facilities in the county have reached their limit. Bereaved families will not be able to access to the facility as they will not be able to view their loved ones.

icnn logo