Moray family praised by Nicola Sturgeon for ‘crucial role’ in mortuary shake-up

Widow Maryan Whyte (right) with her eldest daughter Sharon Robertson at her home in Forres. Picture by Gordon Lennox

A brave Moray family’s “crucial role” in securing an overhaul of mortuary services across Scotland has been hailed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Changes to the service were confirmed this following a campaign by the loved ones of Frank Whyte from Forres, who died in a sailing accident at Findhorn Bay in May 2016.

His widow, Maryan, fought for reform after the family was left “horrified” by the conditions of a local facility where they had to identify his body.

Local MSP Richard Lochhead raised the campaign in Holyrood yesterday, saying: “Does the first minister agree that their achievement is truly exceptional, given that they campaigned at the same time as they were grieving the loss of a loved one, their husband and father, Frank Whyte?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “We welcome the mortuary review group report recommendations, which aim to produce mortuary service standards across national health service boards.

“I think that it is correct to say that that would not have happened without the commitment of the Whyte family, who bravely shared their experiences with us and who continue to play a crucial role as part of the group. I take the opportunity today to thank them for that.

“The information that was gathered from each of our NHS boards and other providers has helped to identify areas in which we need to focus our efforts in order to ensure that the appropriate standards of service are being provided.

“We want post-mortem examinations to be carried out exclusively in health board facilities, in the appropriate environment and with an agreed protocol.

“Our focus now is very much on implementation, and I thank everyone, including the Whyte family, who has had an input into getting us to where we now are.”