Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


National Bereavement Alliance

Report from Mrs Debbie James FAAPT

As a new council member I accompanied Lydia Judge-Kronis to represent the AAPT at the National Bereavement Alliance Meeting in London on 20th January 2014. This is an area I hope to become more involved in and thought it would be a good start and an excellent opportunity to network.

The mix of different organisations involved it the NBA means that the care of the dying and bereaved can be addressed taking into consideration many different points of view. This enables smaller voices and organisations a forum and a chance to improve care around their area of expertise.

On the 9th January 2014 the “Life after Death” report was published by the National Bereavement Alliance, National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters (,224). This was based on findings from a survey of NBA organisations about the most pressing issues facing bereaved people. Feedback was requested as to how to proceed forward with the outcomes raised. 

Various pieces of work are being taken forwards for employers with regards to a bereaved employee and hopefully this has highlighted the inconsistencies between employers and the needs of each bereaved person regardless of their loss. I feel there will be more to come on this subject. This raised for me the issue of what would happen at my workplace and I thought I’d mention it may be worth taking note of your own workplace policies for this scenario.

An update on Death Certification reforms was presented. This included the introduction of Medical Examiners, some discussion about their role, and the policy that will be going to consultation in February 2014 with an implementation of the reform potentially later in the year. A “how to guide” will be produced to assist authorities with the changeover, however there will be a period of time allowed when both systems can be run side by side. There will be a date given for enactment of this policy and all authorities will have to change over at that point.

The new “Bereavement Care Service Standards” (BCSS) was launched at the meeting by Bereavement Services Association (BSA) and Cruse Bereavement Care (Cruse).The new national Standards for Bereavement Care Services set the criteria for what clients, carers, staff and volunteers can expect from bereavement care services:

  • They will facilitate the audit of bereavement care services, and ensure equality and governance across different services.
  • They will enable quality control measures to be utilised within the field so that ‘minimum standards’ become the accepted norm.
  • They will lead to a more integrated approach to the delivery of bereavement care, whilst at the same time being adaptable and responsive to the diversity of local services and individual needs.
  • They will provide a helpful benchmark for services to be compared across the country.
  • There will be some specific training offered for people working with the bereaved, the dates will be published once they are agreed.

As not all mortuaries are linked to the bereavement service it is worth looking at these standards and seeing if you can incorporate some of them into your daily work. Not all of them may be appropriate but they do give a good baseline of where to begin. You probably already do so this should help highlight the excellent standards you already strive to achieve.

As a parting thought I would like to say well done to those APT’s who consulted and helped shape the BCSS into the new standards of today. It’s a good reminder that we can all make a difference if we get involved and have our say.

Mrs Debbie James FAAPT

AAPT Council Member

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