Improvements to bereavement services at Leeds hospitals have been welcomed by councillors.
The changes were made after concerns were raised about delays in releasing the bodies of people of Muslim or Jewish faith for burial, when religious customs stipulate this should be as soon as possible.
Members of Leeds City Council’s Health Scrutiny Board has investigated the issue and earlier this year produced a series of recommendations for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
They were also told a new policy aimed at making staff more aware of the importance of the timely release of loved ones had been put in place at the trust.
Now councillors have been given an update on the impact of the moves, which have sped up release times especially at evenings and weekends.
Scrutiny board chairman Coun Peter Gruen said: “Since our last report, the trust has made great progress in reducing the out of hours turn-round for release of deceased bodies to families.
“They have recognised the sensitivity for our Asian and Jewish communities in doing this as promptly as possible – the reduction from 22 hours in 2014 to just seven hours in 2016 is remarkable.”
Other improvements include the creation of a specialist bereavement worker post to support families after the death of an adult. Leeds-based charity Elliot’s Footprint is also raising money to fund a similar role within Leeds Children’s Hospital to support parents who lose a child.