His nieces, who lived some distance away, were not told when their family member was cremated or what happened to his ashes, meaning they couldn’t say a final goodbye
Image: Getty Images)
A council cremated a man without telling his family and then lost his ashes, a report has revealed.
His family was distraught after they weren’t told when their family member was cremated or what happened to his ashes, meaning they couldn’t say a final goodbye.
The man, who was living in a care home in St Helens, Merseyside, was hospitalized after falling ill on April 23 last year.
His nieces, who lived some distance away, were informed that he had reached the end of his life.
The man died in hospital the same day and St Helens Council informed his nieces that they would organize his funeral and death certificate.
The nieces then contacted the council several times to ask about his funeral, but received no information Liverpool Echo reports.
On May 28, one of the women contacted a crematorium near her uncle and they were informed that he had already been cremated.
St Helens Borough Council WS)
St Helens City Council has accepted the findings of an Ombudsman’s report which explained how the man, known only as Mr Z, moved into the care home just before the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.
His nieces, known as Mrs X and Mrs Y, were listed as his next of kin and asked to be kept informed of his progress.
In September 2020, St Helens Council became the uncle’s agent and managed his affairs.
After Mr. Z. was hospitalized, Ms. X. spent the whole day visiting her uncle two days before his death.
The report states: “The following week, Ms Y had discussions with Nursing Home B, the hospital’s grief office and the registrar about Mr Z. She stated that she could not arrange Mr Z’s funeral and did not know enough about him to to register his death.
“The hospital registrar and grief office advised Ms Y that the Council would be able to arrange Mr Z’s funeral and death certificate as its agents. On 30 the registrar confirmed they would pass on to the council.”
Ms X contacted her sister on 5 and 7 May to ask if she had heard from the council about her uncle’s funeral arrangements, with Ms Y saying she had no contact with St Helens Council.
On May 28, Ms. X contacted the crematorium near Mr. Z and was informed that her uncle had been cremated earlier that day.
Ms X complained to the Council on 14 June for not informing her or Ms Y of her uncle’s cremation as requested.
The report continued: “The Council responded to Ms X’s complaint, stating that it had no record of Ms X on Mr Z’s file. The Council also said that Nursing Home B, the registrar and the hospital’s grief office told him communicated that Ms Y wanted no part in Mr Z’s funeral and was unwilling to register his death.
“The council apologized for not informing Ms X and Ms Y of their uncle’s cremation and said it would change its processes to prevent a repeat.”
Mrs X then complained to the Ombudsman for Local Government and Social Welfare as she remained dissatisfied with the Council’s response. The Ombudsman has found that St Helens City Council is at fault for causing distress to Mrs X and Mrs Y.
The Ombudsman added that he was also disappointed that the council had not told the women what happened to Mr Z’s ashes. They have recommended that the council apologize to the sisters for their poor communication and make a payment of £300 (£150 per person) for their hardship, time and effort.
The Ombudsman has also called on the council to review existing public health funeral policies to align them with the Government’s best practice guidance.
St Helens Council has since said it has accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations and has “sincerely apologized” to the family.
A spokesman for St Helens Borough Council said: “When we take responsibility for a resident’s affairs and funeral arrangements, that duty is paramount. Unfortunately, we did not meet our high standards on this occasion and the resulting miscommunication caused significant distress to the family of the deceased.
“We have written to the family to offer our sincere apologies and to accept the Ombudsman’s report’s recommendations.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/council-cremate-man-without-telling-27341436 Advice: cremate man without informing destroyed family before losing his ashes