BOSCOMBE’S mortuary will become the only morgue for the whole of Dorset in the latest round of cost-cutting measures.
It comes after Dorset County Council confirmed it will terminate its contract with Dorset County Hospital in order to save £50,000 a year.
The facility was built four years ago in East Cemetery, Gloucester Road and has sufficient capacity to deal with the extra 500 post-mortems a year.
Head of Legal and Democratic Services at Dorset County Council Jonathan Mair said: “As part of merging the East and West Dorset Coroners’ areas into one for the whole county, we are working in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole to use one purpose-built mortuary owned and run by Bournemouth Borough Council.”
The countywide service, which starts in June, also has a resilience contract to deal with any major incidents in the county.
The move has sparked concerns, especially in the West of Dorset, that families will have to trek over to the other side of the county to say goodbye to their loved one.
It has provoked outrage among many funeral directors in West Dorset, who say it will have a ‘distressing’ impact on grieving families.
A spokesman for the Wessex Funeral Directors Association, which represents independent funeral businesses in Dorset, said: “We feel Dorset County Council has not given any consideration to the welfare of the bereaved, who may find themselves having to travel vast distances to identify or visit their loved ones.”
It is believed that those who are brought in from the community in circumstances where post-mortems need to be carried out to find out the cause of death, will be taken to Boscombe.
Three jobs are believed to be at risk, although it is not known if the posts will be transferred.