One of the items being investigated by the Competitions and Marketing Authority within the funeral sector, is unethical relationships between funeral directors and targeted organisations. Such organisations that a Funeral Director might target, would be nursing homes or hospices. This is a dreadful situation and any unethical relationship between two such organisations brings shame on the whole industry. WE firmly believe that a quality, value for money Funeral Director, would be chosen on the merit of his work, his care, his empathy and sympathy and the dignity and professionalism with which he carries out his work. There should never be any cause for a Funeral Director to have any unethical relations with other organisations that would provide work for him.
I also believe this opens the door and poses the question of; how regulated are nursing homes and hospices? Surely they have no business in persuading a bereaved family towards a favoured funeral director. The issues we hear are that some gain gifts and others gain cash commission for their persuasions. Surely their should be an ‘end of life’ plan with all nursing homes which details the family’s chosen funeral director? Why are these organisations not regulated in this way?
The conclusion of all of this is that these immoral and unethical relations should never exist. Family’s deserve the choice and their choice should then be respected.
We have recently had to deal with such an unfortunate situation. The family called us and asked what they can do as another funeral director had collected their relative and was stating he must charge for all manner of things, which to our mind would be optional. We have given the family our advice and await their return call. Funeral Directors should not be collecting relative’s on the instruction of the nursing home, without the family consent. This is why an ‘end of life’ plan should exist and should be what the family decide, not the nursing home.
Let’s hope the CMA tighten up on this and stipulate compulsory government regulation for all funeral directors and also look into the nursing home regulations.