A TEMPORARY mortuary has been set up at a salt depot near Salisbury to help cope with an ‘increase in need’.
The facility has been opened at the High Post salt store, which is run by Wiltshire Council as a storage facility for salts used to ‘grit’ the roads in freezing conditions.
But now, a temporary refrigeration unit has been installed on the site, housing people from the city hospital, it is understood.
A spokesperson from the NHS Salisbury Foundation Trust, said: “We can confirm that we have opened additional mortuary capacity to accommodate an increase in need across the local community.
“Our mortuary service operates to the national standards treating the deceased and loved ones with dignity and respect at all times regardless of location.
“All our additional capacity provides privacy and has 24/7 security.”
Wiltshire Council said it was supporting the hospital during a time of ‘extreme pressure’.
Cllr Richard Clewer, council leader, said: “We are supporting our partners at Salisbury District Hospital during this period of extreme pressure for the NHS.
“The site at High Post is private and is an appropriate location to provide this facility, and it is guarded by security at all times.
“Our staff are specially trained to work in a professional and proper manner, and behave respectfully and sensitively at all times.”
The news comes as data reveals the final weeks of 2022 saw a rise in ‘excess deaths’ in Wiltshire.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the weeks ending December 23 and 30 each saw 23 more deaths than ‘expected’ in Wiltshire – a rise of more than 20 percent.
Across the country, more than 650,000 deaths were registered in 2022, a rise of nine percent on 2019.
It has been reported the extra mortuary at High Post has been in use since January 4.
During the Covid pandemic, extra mortuary space was made available at Salisbury District Hospital.
The NHS Trust has not confirmed if this space has been used again.