SAIF’s Chief Executive reacts to Guardian article on hospice funeral joint venture

December 18, 2017   //   No Comments

Letter to the editor the Guardian Newspaper

14 December 2017

I fully support the concerns raised by the Good Funeral Guide and St Luke’s hospice that the Hospice Funerals joint venture (UK hospices warned against joint venture with undertaker tycoon, 5 December) risks making bereaved families feel morally obliged to use their  recommended funeral service as a way of ‘paying back’ the care their loved one received.

Choosing a funeral director is a very personal decision and families should use a firm they feel comfortable with and who can offer the type of funeral they want. They should in no way feel under pressure to use a particular service.  As a trade association representing nearly 900 independent funeral directors, many of our members raise funds and regularly donate to their local hospice, as do many bereaved families. If hospices enter into this funeral franchise, at a cost of £10,000, concerns will be raised over how donation money is being spent and will only harm the perception people have of hospices.

SAIF independent funeral directors are not part of any larger franchise so their prices are very competitive, even in comparison to figures quoted by Hospice Funerals. However, by using a hospice recommended service, families may incorrectly believe it is the most cost effective option when this isn’t necessarily the case.

Hospices have a fantastic reputation in the UK and provide an invaluable service to people at a time of greatest need. Moving towards this business model risks undermining their work and will threaten the sustainability of smaller, independent funeral directors.

I hope hospices up and down the country will reject the offer to become part of the new franchise.

Terry Tennens

SAIF Chief Executive Office