Temporary mortuary constructed in Glasgow warehouse

A temporary mortuary in Glasgow which will be able to accommodate almost 1,700 bodies is in its final stages of construction.

The NHS warehouse at the Hillington Industrial Estate is being turned into a temporary morgue to help deal with rising death tolls during the coronavirus pandemic.

Glasgow City Council has led work on the shared facility which will be used by all local authorities, funeral directors and undertakers in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) area, should it be needed.

It will be operational from Monday, with staff being trained on Friday while refrigeration units were delivered.

Refrigeration unit
Refrigeration unit

A council spokeswoman said: “Like all local authorities across the UK, the Greater Glasgow and Clyde local authority areas alongside our partners the NHS have been looking at various options for dealing with increased deaths as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The partnership is monitoring on a daily basis the impact of Covid-19 against the planning models for the pandemic – including potential requirements for a temporary mortuary facility across the areas.

“As part of this resilience partnership planning, a site has been identified in Hillington.

“The site is a NHS leased building and we are working towards making this facility ready within the coming weeks for funeral directors across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde local authority areas to make use of – should they need too.”

It can store at least 1,650 caskets depending on how long registrations and funerals take.

Glasgow morgue
Glasgow morgue

The facility will serve Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow and Inverclyde – with Argyll and Bute to be confirmed.

Other temporary mortuary provisions have been put in place elsewhere across Scotland for use if needed during the pandemic.

A facility has been built at Edinburgh’s Mortonhall crematorium with another at Macmerry Industrial Estate, Tranent, East Lothian.

Perth and Kinross Council has developed temporary mortuary facilities at the Inveralmond Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Perth, while a military hangar at Kinloss Barracks, Moray, is on standby for use.

A site near Prestwick Airport will also be used as such a facility for East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire councils.

Glasgow morgue
Glasgow morgue

A joint statement from the three local authorities said: “As part of our contingency measures in relation to Covid-19, we have taken an all-Ayrshire approach to facilitate a temporary body storage facility adjacent to Prestwick Airport.

“The three Ayrshire councils are in regular contact with the NHS and funeral directors across the region to assess their capacity to manage any additional deaths throughout this period.

“The Prestwick facility will only be used in the event that funeral directors can no longer manage any additional deaths.”