Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


Bereavement Services Association Conference and AGM 2010

The BSA AGM and Conference, ‘Ordinary People , Extraordinary Achievements’ was held on 19th May at St Thomas Hospital was well attended and full of variety.

The BSA AGM and Conference, ‘Ordinary People , Extraordinary Achievements’ was held on 19th May at St Thomas Hospital was well attended and full of variety.

The AGM was held at the start and included a thank you to James Lowell for the continued support of the AAPT. BSA Membership has been increased however new members are always welcome and are continuing the £5 off incentive when introducing a member.

The conference started with a brief mention about the St Christopher’s Hospice Library. Holding over 2000 items on bereavement including journals and newsletters, we are all encouraged to use the resources.

The facilitators, Anne and Dawn then started a debate, fuelled with controversial arguments to demonstrate, ‘Why Have a Bereavement service’. Following the initial dialogue everyone felt free and at ease to add their points of view and experiences to the mix. The outcome was, a well run and professional bereavement service can not only ensure the best care for the bereaved but, had also proved that complaints regarding bereavement have decreased.

Fiona Murphy, from the Royal Bolton Hospital spoke about the Bereavement and Tissue Donation Service she has developed and leads. As a nurse Fiona had insight into the amount of tissue donors that slipped through the net and were not being approached. Fiona has developed a bereavement care bundle, similar to other Trusts bereavement boxes, and ensures that this is constantly used by her team. This has ensured that there is a 100% referral rate for donation. Fiona finished off with a very emotive letter and story of a real life experience.

David Shepherd, Chief APT from St Thomas’ hospital then spoke about the ‘Tell Us Once’ scheme they run. David explained how they have developed a more comprehensive service by incorporating bereavement officers and APTs and offers a one stop Bereavement Service. During their visit the family go through a form which lists all of the government agencies. The family choose which ones to tick and the completed form is used to inform all the relevant agencies of the death saving the family from having to send out individual letters to each one. Having a registrar on site has proved an asset enabling families to do everything in one visit saving them getting transport to other places and waiting in different queues etc. This was agreed by a number of other delegates who are also fortunate enough to have registrars within their hospitals.

Due to the changes in government Paul Ader from the Department of Health could not attend so Mark Green led a discussion on the legal implications of asking for a green certificate before releasing a deceased. Mark also highlighted the impact of funeral directors asking for dispersments up front and the DWP form being so lengthy and complicated. There seems to be an increase in the amount of people asking for help resulting in a negative impact with regards to environmental funerals, costing individual Trusts more time and money. General discussion commenced on different practices and highlighted to the representative from the DOH that there is a need for this to be looked into and some set guidance given.

Catherine Bentley Cruse director of services athen rounded up the day by talking about the Bereavement Pathway project and how this had helped change what is offered to the people left behind. There are also plans to revisit the work done previously to achieve the Gold Standard Bereavement Care for 2010-2013.Their aim is to bridge the gap between services, and are slowly seeing this happening.

The market place was well supported and the representatives from each company were friendly and keen to network, with a good selection of giveaways to get the conversations started.

Overall the day was a great success. The conference gave people from different areas of bereavement the chance to network, find out about different schemes and generally swop ideas and raise awareness of the problems and solutions facing those who work in this field. It’s easy to feel you are on your own and yet when in a larger group you find out other people are facing the same challenges in their areas.
There is general agreement that as bereavement service providers we should be working together with a positive attitude to best bereavement care although in reality there is still a lot of ‘them and us’.

Hopefully as the BSA grows in numbers and with the links with other areas such as the AAPT, DOH and Cruse, we can all work together to ensure a more approachable, professional, well guided service will be demonstrated by all.

The next BSA conference is to be in Manchester, date to be confirmed.

For more information on the BSA go to

For more information about the library at St Christopher’s hospice please contact Denise Brady at

For more information about the Bereavement Pathway Project go to and click on News and Events.

Lydia Judge-Kronis. FAAPT, FRSPH

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