Temporary mortuary at Wollaston may become permanent says county council

The former recycling centre site is now acting as a mortuaryThe former recycling centre site is now acting as a mortuary
The former recycling centre site is now acting as a mortuary | jpimedia
The county council is in talks to make the temporary mortuary at Wollaston a permanent feature.

The mortuary was opened at the former recycling centre, just outside the village on Doddington Road, as a response to coronavirus and an anticipated increase in deaths due to the pandemic. Now known as ‘The Leys’, it has been operating since the weekend of April 11 and has a capacity of 1,100.

After looking at several sites, Northamptonshire County Council leader Matt Golby said the temporary mortuary was needed as it was ‘vitally important that we put emergency measures in place so that we are able to deal with any increase in deaths’.

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But at yesterday’s virtual cabinet meeting (May 12), cabinet member for corporate services Councillor Sandra Naden-Horley said that discussions were taking place to make the mortuary permanent, adding that such a facility was ‘needed in Northamptonshire’.

Staff from the local authority and blue light services are involved now in its daily operation. Roles required to operate the facility include mortuary managers, administration and portering staff, all of whom have had previous experience and have undertaken suitable and relevant training for their roles according to a county council spokesman.

The spokesman added: “These roles are in the majority filled by redeployed staff from the organisations involved. The number of staff deployed across the service depends on the level of activity at the site and can be scaled up as required. The site is staffed by a minimum of six to ten FTE per shift.”

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being issued to all staff along with instruction and guidance about the processes for putting it on, taking it off safely and disposal.

More information on the cost of setting up and running the temporary mortuary is expected to come to a future cabinet meeting examining the costs associated with the pandemic.