Funeral directors prove their worth during Covid-19

26/06/2020   //   No Comments

SAIF thanks Paul Allcock for his thoughts on his experiences of the profession in recent months. Paul is SAIF’s government liaison representative, Past President and a dedicated Executive Committee member.

March 23rd 2020 is a date that will remain well and truly ingrained in the memories of our nation. The weeks and now months following this date have proved to be some of the most difficult and trying periods of everyone’s life. None more so than the funeral directors who have performed so admirably throughout.

We can debate many elements of the management of our lives during the ongoing effects of the COVID-19. Have Government departments made the correct calls on how we should react as a nation? What difference would it have made if we hadn’t had the lockdown? Has society pulled together to support each other as much as it could have?

There are so many questions that we all have and which will likely be debated for many years to come. And we must learn from any mistakes which are identified, to ensure that we are better prepared for a similar scenario in future years. The majority of funeral directors should however hold their heads high and with great pride. The dignity with which they have carried out their service to the communities they serve over and above all expectations has been exemplary.

The majority of funeral directors should hold their heads high
and with great pride

Being faced with hugely excessive numbers of deaths, many of course with COVID-19, whilst not being able to interact with their clients in the usual manner, or provide all of their usual services, has been extremely challenging. Local Authorities and the Military were tasked with preparing themselves to take over the role of dealing with the excessive number of deaths.

But thanks to the additional work and time that funeral directors were prepared to put in, this proved in the majority of cases to be totally unnecessary. And left the Local Authorities to concentrate on supporting the work of funeral directors with provision of PPE where they were able to access supplies. Not only did this avoid the pictures we have seen from around the world of bodies being loaded into trucks and buried in mass graves. But it also ensured that the dignity and respect which we expect as a society for our deceased loved ones remained very much intact.

The care shown by, and the flexibility to be able to deal with unprecedented circumstances, has served to prove what a fantastic service funeral directors offer to society. It has also become evident that many members of SAIF also lowered their fees throughout April, May and June. Not only due to them only being able to provide a limited service, but also as a measure of support and help for their local communities at such a difficult time. A time when many providers of PPE were increasing the costs of their supplies, thus making life more difficult than it already was.

In many of my discussions at government level and in associated sectors I have frequently been told that funeral directors are not an essential element when organising a funeral. Well I think that funeral directors have proven over the last few months exactly why we are essential, and that society would not have been able to cope through awful this period of time without us.

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