Tours of hospital mortuary prove to be an attraction and fully booked in days

University Hospital of North Tees.
University Hospital of North Tees.

Tours of a hospital trust’s mortuary service proved to be such an attraction they were fully booked in a matter of days.

Dozens of people have signed up for mortuary tours at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have been fully booked in just a few days.

Families and loved ones often don’t get the chance to see this part of the patient journey and we want to open up our doors to show people that here in the hospital, they are always cared for, every step of the wa

Michelle Lancaster

Five nights of tours were offered to people from areas including Hartlepool, each open to 16 people at a time.

And all have been taken with health bosses describing it as a positive way for people to find out more about death, dying and bereavement.

Health bosses encouraged the public to join them on a journey through their mortuary and bereavement services.

They wanted the communities of Hartlepool and Stockton to open up and talk about death, and show you they will care for you along every step of the way.

The fully booked tours will happen during Dying Matters Week later this month.

Michelle Lancaster, mortuary and bereavement services manager at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “My team and those who support us are dedicated to delivering a high level of care to every single patient that we see.

“Families and loved ones often don’t get the chance to see this part of the patient journey and we want to open up our doors to show people that here in the hospital, they are always cared for, every step of the way.

“Dying Matters is a fantastic initiative and this is a great opportunity to get the conversation started.”

Those who have signed up will be given a tour of the mortuary at the Uiversity Hospital of North Tees, which provides services for people from Hartlepool and East Durham, and a talk with staff about how it all runs.

It came about as the trust wants to encourage people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives - including where they want to die and their funeral plans - with friends, family and loved ones.

This involves a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle.

Trust officials say changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved.

They say a lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families.