Hopes that 631- person mortuary will not be needed
Hopes have been expressed that a mortuary set up to deal the bodies of those who die of Covid-19, will not be needed.
At the Powys County Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday councillors received a report on the Unit One Temporary Body Storage Facility at the Wyeside Enterprise Park at Llanelwedd near Builth Wells.
The facility has the capacity to store up to 631 bodies and has been set up to deal with a worst case scenario of deaths in Powys, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Portfolio holder for economic development, housing and regulatory services, Councillor James Evans explained that the mortuary had been been needed by the Welsh Government.
Councillor Evans said: “The First Minister outlined his expectation that local government, the NHS and funeral directors work together to ensure that additional mortuary capacity is in place across the country.
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“The work that social distancing is doing and the sacrifices of staying home to protect the NHS, means that we have yet to use Unit One.”
Councillor Evans said that the council had worked closely with Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) on setting up the facility.
He added the site had been chosen it as it was “central” to the whole county and “easily accessible.”
Corporate director for economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, told cabinet: “The team have been absolutely tremendous in putting this together at very short notice.
“The pleasing note is, the facility is not required at this time and let’s hope that remains the case.
“If we are required unfortunately to bring it in to service, we are ready and able to do so.”
Council leader Rosemarie Harris said: “I think it’s quite important that we point out that we have not paid for this facility, it’s being paid for by (Welsh) government.
“In case someone says this has been an awful waste of money, it’s something we have to have.”
The report shows that setting up the temporary mortuary has cost £124, 270.
The mortuary will be on standby until March 2021, and this is estimated to cost £658,681.
The facility will be staffed on a rota basis by three teams of at least six workers.
The report adds that use of Unit One would only start, when all existing mortuary facilities in the county have reached their limit.
Bereaved families will not be able to access to the facility as they will not be able to view their loved ones.
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