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BEREAVEMENT-CARE  September 2011

BEREAVEMENT-CARE September 2011

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Subject:

Re: Tracing relatives

From:

Samuel Goss <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bereavement Care <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:39:36 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your response and your points. The advert does not breach patient confidentiality according to the regulations set out by the ICO so I am not sure why the SHA is concerned. Is there something you know I don't?

The main reason we are concerned is that some cases we will have relatives appear 5 - 10 years down the line and if we have not been seen to take all measures to ensure the wishes of the deceased has been carried out we could be in hot water with those relatives. You can just see the headlines now and as this seems to be the issue with the SHA and our press officer, I want to do things right. How do you decide whether to cremate or bury? Is it, as your response would seem to suggest, a purely financial decision or do the deceased's wishes, if known, have a bearing.

Once again, many thanks for the response and assistance.

Kind regards,
Sam. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bereavement Care [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Green, Mark
Sent: 27 September 2011 10:06
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Tracing relatives

Hi Sam

I would agree with the position of the SHA.  Whilst wanting to trace relatives, there needs to be a line drawn between patient confidentiality and making reasonable enquiries, which would include all of the other measures you have indicated.  

I feel it is important also to differentiate between the process of 'lawful disposal of the body' and administering the estate.  The responsibility of the Trust is to:

1.	Try to identify any relatives / executors
2.	To carry out the lawful disposal of the body in line with the person's wishes (where known)
3.	To recover the costs of the disposal from the person's estate (where possible) 

The Trust is not responsible for dealing with the estate other than informing the Treasury Solicitor where there is more than  500 left in the estate after the funeral expenses have been met.  

Hope this helps,

Mark

Mark Green
Senior Trust Bereavement Care Coordinator Southampton General Hospital (MP 310) Tremona Road Southampton
SO16 6YD

Tel: (023) 8079 4587

-----Original Message-----
From: Bereavement Care [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Haigh, Andrew (People)
Sent: 27 September 2011 09:30
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Tracing relatives

The short answer is that you are dealing with the estate (disposal of body is part of this), you are therefore Trustees and you have a duty to deal with matters correctly.  Appropriate advertisement is part of this.
Of course if the estate has value and no relatives are found then it goes to the Crown under the 'bona vacantia' rules.  It is then dealt with by the relevant department at the Treasury Solicitors.  For chapter and verse about the whole sequence therefore I suggest you contact the Treasury Solicitor.

Hope this helps

Andrew
   

-----Original Message-----
From: Bereavement Care [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sam Goss
Sent: 27 September 2011 09:07
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Tracing relatives

Dear All,

As part of a hospital trust, we are required to arrange funerals for those who die in our care without any known relatives. We obviously have a responsibility to the trust to ensure we do all that is within our power to trace any existing relatives to defer costs. More importantly, we have a duty of care to the deceased to do our upmost to carry out their final wishes if known.

This has happened recently and after the usual medical records, social services and police routes, we take the last step of advertising in the press. When we do this, we place and ad asking for people to come forward if they feel they may know this person. We supply first and surname only and do not give an indication of their status. People are directed to call our customer care department with information.

This procedure has proven successful in the past and has not created any issues. However, on this occasion our press officer received a call from our SHA asking why we were putting patient details in the press. The press officer also said we could be accused of giving false information to the press as we were suggesting that this patient was still alive.

After that rather long foreword comes the reason for the post. Do any of you know of any legislation/guidance that can assist us in defending our procedure, or, do any of you know of a way in which we could do this without upsetting the apple cart.

Any help gratefully received.

Kind regards,
Sam Goss. 

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