NHS trust paid for 30 funerals of lonely patients over 12 months

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THE hospital trust paid for 30 funerals of patients who died alone in its care last year.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, carried out 30 welfare funerals across both hospitals between March last year and April 1 this year for people aged between 43 and 93.

Welfare funerals are conducted by the hospital if the patient has no living relatives, if their family lives far away or who has no circle of friends.

Simon Purkiss, trust spokesman, said: “We are required by law to provide welfare funerals for deceased patients when there is no next of kin to take control of a funeral or following extensive enquiries, it becomes apparent that the family cannot afford to pay for a funeral.

“We have a contract with a local funeral director to provide welfare funerals at a reduced rate.

“This contract goes out for tender every three years and its details are commercially sensitive and, therefore, cannot be disclosed.”