KGH £8,500 bill for funerals

Kettering General Hospital
Kettering General Hospital

Kettering General Hospital arranged 15 funerals in three years for people who had died who had no-one able or willing to pay for one.

The hospital revealed the figures after a Freedom of Information request.

In 2010-11 the hospital had paid for five public health funerals, formerly known as paupers’ funerals, as well as seven the following year and three in 2012-13.

In most cases, the hospital said it had undertaken the funerals because there were no family members able to pay. However, in two cases family members had refused to pay for funeral arrangements.

The total cost to the taxpayer for the 15 funerals was about £8,500.

However, this figure is well below the average cost for a funeral in the UK, which insurance firm Sun Life Direct said was about £3,000 after carrying out a survey last year.

According to the figures in the Freedom of Information request, three of the public health funerals between 2010 and 2013 were for women, with 12 for men.

Four of those who died were aged under 65.

Public health funerals are usually organised by local authorities, but if the person died in a hospital managed by an NHS trust and there are no relatives, the trust may take responsibility for funeral arrangements and recover expenses from the deceased’s estate.

Not all hospital trusts assume responsibility for arranging funerals – some pass the responsibility on to the relevant local authority. The authorities are not allowed to claim contributions towards the cost of the funeral.