News for West Sussex Funeral Directors

December 24, 2013   //   No Comments

Changes to mortuary arrangements for the West Sussex Coroner

Letter from Margaret Butler, West Sussex County Council:

As some of you may be aware there have been ongoing discussions for some time with the providers of mortuary services to the Coroner in West Sussex. This letter is to keep you informed regarding some changes to these services and the effect these will have on the current arrangements. This will be effective from Friday 24th January 2014 and there are changes of which you will need to be aware.

Currently, following a death that is subject to a coroner’s referral in West Sussex, bodies receive post mortem examinations and are stored primarily at three locations. They are St Richard’s hospital in Chichester, Worthing Hospital and the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill. The arrangements at Redhill will continue largely unchanged although at peak times it may well be that more bodies will be handled at that mortuary than has hitherto been the case.

From January 2014 post mortem examinations within the Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be carried out at the Worthing Hospital mortuary only. As this will inevitably mean that a higher volume of bodies for post mortem will pass through the Worthing mortuary, those bodies that require storage only will be stored at one of three premises of Dignity Funerals. Storage will take place primarily at the Dillistones premises in Worthing but on occasion bodies may also be stored at Brighton or Crawley. You will be advised of the location of the deceased by way of an inclusion on the body release notification form issued by the Coroner/WSCC.

It may be that some storage can be arranged in the Chichester area going forward but at this stage that is not certain.

As you can imagine, to ensure the smooth operation of these new arrangements and therefore provide the best service that we can to the families of the deceased, it will be necessary to ensure rapid collection of the deceased whether that be from the mortuaries or from the storage locations. If this does not happen then all storage facilities will quickly fill up and restrict the number of bodies that can be received. We know that you will continue to provide your customers with a service to your own high standards and in order for us to support this we ask that you do carry out collections as quickly as possible. Indeed you doubtless already do this.

Regarding collection times the arrangements remain the same at the East Surrey hospital. Please see the table below for details of the times when you will be able to collect bodies from the other locations:

Location Collection times Comments

Worthing hospital mortuary 10am – 4pm

St Richard’s hospital mortuary 1.30pm – 4pm These collections will not be coroner’s referrals but the information is included for your convenience

Dillistones, Worthing 8.30am – 9.30am

2.30pm – 4.30pm

You will be advised of collection times from any other location should the need arise.

We know that you will understand that in changing and challenging times it is necessary for the way that our services are delivered to adapt in order to continue to provide essential services for our customers. We will work to ensure that the transition to the new system is as seamless as possible and we are confident that you will do the same.

Thank you for your assistance.

Margaret Butler

Service Manager

Coroner’s and Registration

West Sussex County Council.