Funeral directors to meet Government officials amid coronavirus outbreak

Funeral directors are expected to meet Whitehall officials to develop contingency plans for the bereaved during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said funeral services need a “clear national policy” and raised concerns about inconsistencies of guidance across the UK.

Ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, chief executive Jon Levett said those involved are looking to understand how working practices may change – such as by wearing protective clothing.

He also raised the impact of social-distancing measures – meaning restrictions on numbers of people gathering – on funeral services.

Mr Levett said: “Funeral directors across the UK have been working to develop contingency plans and are ready to step up to support the Government and the nation in these unprecedented and worrying times.

“However, consistency of advice is key and this is what we are aiming to achieve from our meeting with the Cabinet Office today.

“Funeral directors need a very clear national policy to work to and we are concerned by inconsistencies of guidance appearing across the UK which is making it impossible for funeral directors to give accurate advice.

“For example, if there are restrictions on numbers of people gathering, bereaved people need to know exactly what this means for funeral services and how funeral directors can support them.”

As well as funeral directors being made aware of how to adapt working practices, they are also seeking to find out how the Government will support the sector in ensuring they are “able to cope” at the peak of the outbreak.

He added: “Funeral directors have an abiding duty of care to anyone who loses someone they love, whether it’s from Covid-19 or anything else – and we urgently need consistent guidance from Government to enable funeral directors to be able to support bereaved families at this difficult time.”