I wish to express my dismay at the waiting time for a cremation at Blyth Crematorium.
Having recently had to carry out the sad duty of arranging a family member’s funeral, I was shocked and disgusted at the amount of time we were informed before a cremation could take place.
On making our first appointment with a funeral director we were informed the wait at Blyth stood at three weeks. And our problem was compounded by the fact that there was a three-day delay in the issuing of a death certificate – through no fault of anyone other than circumstances regarding a doctor’s availability.
This meant the ‘provisional’ date we were told the earliest a cremation could take place would increase even further because of our short delay.
The thought of having a loved one waiting so long is just incomprehensible.
I have since been told that the delay is due to the renovation work currently taking place at the Blyth facility, which means it is not fully operational the full day, therefore building up a backlog. It can also be ‘busier’ at this time of year because of the cold weather.
These are all fully acceptable reasons which I have no argument with. It is only right the crematorium is improved, and yes, the winter months can bring an increase on people passing away, particularly the elderly.
But the real problem here lies with the complete lack of facilities. For a county the size of Northumberland to only have one crematorium is disrespectful.
In asking around, we have found families who have used the West Road Crematorium in Newcastle and even the Borders Crematorium in Melrose, Scotland, as they were able to accommodate people at a far earlier date.
There is a similar problem at present in North Tyneside where Whitley Bay is busier than ever because the facility in Tynemouth is currently being renovated, but at least they will have two centres over a course of time.
And I fully understand the current incumbents in County Hall will be quick to point out that these decisions were taken a long time ago, but surely this is something which should be addressed for going forward in the future.
Figures show that more and more people are choosing the option of cremation rather than burial, and this number is surely only going to increase even more as the years go on.
Sadly these decisions all come down to finances. The day when people were looked after from birth to death are from a bygone era.
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