DOCTORS are being forced to ask grieving families to confirm their relative’s deaths by viewing their bodies via video link.

The NHS confirmed that some relatives are being offered the option to view bodies remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gillian Orman, who is still recovering from the death of her handicapped daughter, rang the NHS after Kathleen Bricknell, 86, passed away following a long illness.

Mrs Orman said: “The receptionist said a doctor would come out to confirm my mother’s death.

“The doctor rang and said she wanted to confirm her death via video link. I couldn’t believe it - what she was suggesting so undignified.

“I refused, saying I wanted the doctor to come out to the house.

“She said she would only come if everyone in the property was wearing a face mask, including my late mother.

“I know we’re in the middle of a Covid epidemic but you expect support when something like this happens.”

Mrs Orman, 58, of Osborne Road South, Southampton, said she was planning to make a complaint.

Her mother was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung complaint characterised by long-term breathing problems.

Her death comes just three months after Mrs Orman lost her daughter, Katherine, 34.

Dr Dan Baylis, chief medical officer at Solent NHS Trust, said: “During the current pandemic, GP surgeries across the country are asked to consider offering remote consultations to patients and families, including to verify whether someone has passed away. This is to protect both staff and patients.

“We understand that many families would prefer to be seen face-to-face and we will always accommodate this. Our family liaison officer will be contacting the family to discuss their concerns so they can receive the right support.

“We will use their feedback so we can actively improve our services and the level of care we offer to all patients and their families.”

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said “We’d expect the NHS to carry out such sensitive processes as certifying a death in person, in a way that respects the dignity of the person who has died."