Friday, 2 April 2010

We need changes to funeral services in Birmingham

There is no more traumatic experience that dealing with the loss of a loved one. And as anybody who has experienced it will testify, the burial process is an integral part of coming to terms with their death. Unfortunately, too many grieving families in Birmingham face difficulties in making funeral arrangements for their loved ones.

For communities where there is a religious emphasis on a speedy burial, existing services are often found lacking. For example, if a person dies on the weekend, it is difficult to get a GP to sign a death certificate. Cemeteries open for only a few hours, the number of burials that take place is limited, delaying burial. In the cases where a Post Mortem is required by law, not only is there a long waiting time, but the family is not given the option of an MRI scan which is non-invasive and leaves the body intact. All this results in families pleading with the Coroner or Councillors to help them get things done when in actual fact there is little either can do. The system need to change.

Death, as with birth, does not happen only Monday to Friday. Just as with maternity services or accident services, we need a seven day a week service. That is why I have launched a campaign today to changes to funeral services in Birmingham. It has three demands.

One, rapid body release on weekends. Two, longer opening times for cemeteries to allow for evening burial to reduce delays. Three, using MRI scans, a type of ‘x-ray’, instead of cutting into bodies in cases where a Post Mortem is required by law.

Other cities such as Bradford and Leicester have made similar changes already. Birmingham should too. Please email me at or ring 078 121 72885 if you would like to help.

Photo is of Gulfraz Khan and Shanaz Tahir, father and sister of Sarfraz Khan who was recently tragically killed. They have had to go through the trauma of Post Mortem and delayed body release and are supporting my campaign for a change in funeral services.