The distressed parents of babies whose ashes have been lost by crematoria will be able to have their cases examined as part of a National Investigation, the Scottish Government announced today.
They will also be able to share in a consultation about whether a national memorial dedicated to the babies whose ashes have been lost would be an appropriate action.
Responding to the Infant Cremation Commission report, led by Lord Bonomy, which set out 64 recommendations to "avoid repetition of past failures", Public Health Minister Michael Matheson told the Scottish Parliament that the Government accepted all of the recommendations.
Christina Mckelvie MSP, Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse, said: "I know that families in my constituency have been shockingly grieved and hurt by the events surrounding the deaths and cremation of their children. Not only have they suffered the loss of a loved child but also the anguish of that second loss of all that remained.
"I welcome the fact that the Government has held a full inquiry, has received Lord Bonomy's detailed report and has acted on all of its recommendations. We will be doing everything we can to ensure that each and every case is individually, compassionately and sensitively examined and perhaps that acts as some reassurance to those parents."
Michael Matheson told the Scottish Parliament that the government would establish a National Investigation team, led by Dame Elish Angioline which will look not only at historic events at the Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh but also recent allegations about Hazlehead Crematorium in Aberdeen.
Among the report's recommendations are:
• Setting up an Inspector of Crematoria to monitor working practices at crematoria.
• Legislative changes in the Infant Cremation Commission in a new Burials and Cremation Bill.
• Defining ashes in the Bill as 'all that is left in the cremator and the end of the cremation process' ensuring all crematoria are following the same practices.
• Setting up a National Committee, chaired by the Scottish Government and including representation from parents, to take forward the recommendations.
• Asking local authorities to consider the option for local memorials where there is a desire from parents to have one. The National Committee will also look at the options for a national memorial dedicated to the babies whose ashes were mishandled or mismanaged and will discuss this with affected parents and bereavement support groups.
"Nothing can remove the grief that these parents have already endured," said Ms McKelvie, "but we in the Scottish Government are taking meaningful, constructive action to make sure such assaults upon humanity can never again take place in Scotland."