A temporary morgue, large enough to store 500 bodies, is in the process of being built on Salisbury District Hospital's site.

The purpose of the new facility, set up in the hospital's car park, is to "increase regional capacity" in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

A second temporary morgue, with the same capacity, is also being built in the car park of Swindon's Great Western Hospital.

A spokesperson from Wiltshire Council, which will be managing the facilities, said: "Wiltshire Council is working closely with partners including the Coroner, Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Police, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital and the Army should the impact of the pandemic become more severe.

"We are establishing temperature-controlled storage facilities at Great Western Hospital and Salisbury District Hospital to rest those who have lost their lives from COVID-19.

Salisbury Journal:

"These sites are protected by private security contractors with support from Wiltshire Police. We would ask that the public and media respect the privacy of these facilities.

"In line with government guidance, the deceased will be stored at these facilities for up to 28 days, before being taken to cemeteries and crematoriums in Wiltshire and Swindon for burial or cremation.

"Deaths from natural causes or other diseases will be handled by independent funeral directors.

"All those who pass away will be treated with dignity and respect at all times."

The news comes as hospitals up and down the country have been urged to prepare for a surge in patients affected by coronavirus.

So far, two people have been confirmed to have died after contracting Covid-19 at Salisbury District Hospital.

They are a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions and a woman in her 80s.


A spokesperson from Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: "Salisbury Hospital has been asked by the Government to provide space for the construction of a temporary mortuary facility to increase regional capacity. 

"As always we request staff, visitors and the public are respectful of this temporary facility in the same manner as our own mortuary."

The Salisbury facility will be operational by the end of this week and will be able to operate at full capacity by Monday next week.