BASINGSTOKE’S MP has voiced her support of the decision to open the temporary mortuary in Winklebury.

Maria Miller said that while the site “wasn’t of our choosing”, the move fulfils the “legal duty” of the county council to provide “dignity and respect” for those who have sadly passed away.

Hampshire County Council announced earlier this week that, as a result of continued and sustained pressure on hospitals and funeral directors services, it is essential that the temporary Winklebury mortuary be opened

The facility, which opened today (January 21) will support four major NHS Hospitals across the wider Hampshire area.

Mrs Miller said: “Despite the current emergency it is important we can properly care for those who have passed away; and that we can reassure families that their loved ones are being treated with dignity and respect. This additional temporary mortuary allows that to happen.

“When Hampshire County Council announced the site of the new temporary mortuary last year I worked with local residents including the Winklebury Community Action Group to set up good communications for the eventuality of the site being needed. Thanks go to Mark Peters chair of WCAG for his help with this.”

Mrs Miller stressed that, despite initial reservations over the location, the focus must now be on its “important” role.

She explained: “Hampshire County Council has a legal duty to ensure a temporary facility is in place and whilst the site wasn’t of our choosing, it is important now that the facility operates smoothly, to do our bit to support families who are grieving the loss of a loved one at such a difficult time.”

Mrs Miller added that next of kin will be aware that their loved one is being accommodated at the facility and that support is available to them through a dedicated Bereavement Service team.

If anyone has a question they need answering about the operation of the facilities, call Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councils helpline on 01256 844844.