MSP’s united over shocking Moray mortuary facilities

Spynie mortuary facility - call for new national inspector.
Spynie mortuary facility – call for new national inspector.

THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT debate prompted by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead over the shocking conditions under which bereaved families view loved ones killed in accidents has produced an assurance over security concerns.

Mr Lochhead led a debate on Thursday that was prompted by the “unacceptable” conditions met by the family of Frank Whyte when he died following a sailing accident on Findhorn Bay earlier this year.

Mr Whyte’s family were faced with distressing conditions at the Spynie Mortuary in Elgin, used by police for purposes of carrying out formal identification procedures after such incidents. Mr Lochhead brought the matter to the Parliament after learning that Spynie was not an isolated case in Scotland.

During Thursday’s debate, support for Mr Lochhead’s position was given by regional MSP Douglas Ross, who also raised security concerns at Spynie.

Mr Ross said after the debate: “Maryan Whyte and her family endured a terrible experience in the mortuary at Spynie following the tragic death of Frank earlier this year. What they had to go through however has led to improvements locally that should stop other families having to face the same unacceptable conditions.

“I was pleased to speak in the debate supporting the campaign Maryan and her family have driven forward. While there is now a temporary solution to where families can view and identify the deceased, I have concerns about the security at Spynie which has been highlighted several times before.

“I am encouraged that the minister agreed with me that this is a crucial issue and she will look into it further.

“I also think we have to look at why Spynie was allowed to operate in its poor condition for too long. I have called on the Scottish Government to look at an inspection process for mortuaries – I believe if one currently existed Spynie would not have been used and the Whyte family and many others across Moray would have been spared the ordeal they went through.

“I also think there is a case to have a single body dealing with all mortuaries in Scotland – at the moment there is confusion over who has responsibility for Spynie mortuary as it is used by the police, NHS and the council.

“The debate showed the power of a family uniting in their grief and sharing an unacceptable experience to enact change across the country.

“I’m confident that we will now see an improvement in standards across Scotland because of the campaign by this Forres family. However, we have to ensure that we continue pressing for a fit for purpose permanent mortuary for Moray. Anything less would be unacceptable.”