By Julie Ngalle
A Surrey County Council briefing shown to Incite Magazine reveals the Pathology Centre at the University of Surrey Vet School is to be used as a temporary mortuary to “reduce pressure on hospital mortuaries”.
This is done in preparation for the potential rise of cases in Surrey, which could overwhelm healthcare services. By setting up two more mortuaries – one based within the University Veterinary School, and one at Surrey’s Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters in Reigate – the government hopes to reduce pressure on vital NHS services and workers.
Rabbi Alex Goldberg, the co-ordinating and Jewish chaplain at the University of Surrey said: “The local authorities, the University, faith and community leaders have been working together for a number of weeks to convert the Pathology Centre to a mortuary. The faith and community leaders are impressed by the care taken to ensure the facility conforms to all major faith and belief systems, which hopefully will give some comfort to the recently bereaved in these extremely difficult times. In addition, our Chaplaincy team at the University, along with other faith and community leaders, have helped Surrey County Council put in a bereavement service for people of faith and of none. Should anyone in the University community have any anxiety or concerns relating to the current situation, please contact either the Centre for Wellbeing or the chaplains.”
The government’s main goal with this, and all other measures they have so far put in place, is to avoid reaching the state several other European countries such as Italy, Spain or France are currently at. This move is intended to support patients, hospital services, and the wellbeing of health professionals at the front lines of the pandemic.
This announcement comes as the UK government confirmed on the 7th of April that the number of deaths from COVID-19 complications had risen to a total of 6,159 and the number of infected citizens to 55,242, excluding data from Northern Ireland, Leeds, and Manchester.
Following the release of these figures, a press conference was held by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who is currently deputising for the Prime Minister whilst he is in Intensive Care – the same day in London to discuss further measures the government was putting in place, in preparation for the peak in diagnoses and deaths that the UK has seemingly not reached yet.