Over half of Brits who lost a loved one during the coronavirus lockdown feel that their grief has been forgotten, research has revealed.
The study by healthcare charity Sue Ryder also found a further 55% feel that their loved one’s death has become “just a statistic” amidst the Covid-19 crisis.
The findings come after Boris Johnson ’s U-turned on a commitment to meet with those who have been bereaved during the pandemic – claiming he can’t meet with people suing his government.
The campaigners though have insisted there is no formal legal action and the PM is breaking his promise to meet them.
Sue Ryder is now calling for grieving households to be allowed to form “bereavement bubbles” with others who have lost loved ones during any future coronavirus lockdown, a charity believes.
This would help families feel less isolated and alone as they go through the grieving process, said the Sue Ryder charity.
Its research found 62% of people bereaved since the end of March felt this way.
Two-thirds of the 503 adults surveyed said forming a support bubble would be a “vital source of support”.
The research also found that 62% feel the nation has become “desensitised to death”, while 55% feel their loved ones’ death is “just a statistic”.
Currently, single adult households can form a support bubble with another household without needing to adhere to social distancing.
The Government is being urged to extend this to bereaved households containing more than one adult, such as housemates or older children, during any local or national lockdown.
Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, is backing the call in a letter to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.
She said: “Grief is extremely complex – even without the added anxieties of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
“For many people who have been bereaved since lockdown began, this has been an incredibly isolating time.
“The ability to form a bereavement support bubble without the need for social distancing, as single adult households are currently able to do, could make a huge impact for someone who is grieving.”
Sue Ryder has seen a spike in demand for its bereavement support services, including online video counselling and an online community forum.
Chief executive Heidi Travis said: “Integral and deeply personal elements of the bereavement journey have been disrupted for so many over the last few months due to social distancing measures.
“So many people have been unable to say goodbye to those who have died, they have then had to grieve in isolation, without the physical presence or touch of those close to them.”
Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster called on ministers to listen to bereaved families.
She said: “Every single life sadly lost during this pandemic is not only tragic for the individual, but a heavy weight for the family and friends, impacting on their lives forever.
“The PM saying he’d meet with bereaved families on camera and then taking it back in writing is symbolic of the government’s lack of care and decency for so many who have been impacted by this crisis.
“He should be listening to the ideas and experiences of grieving families so the government can support them better.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Every death during the pandemic is a tragedy and our deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has lost relatives or loved ones.
“We recognise how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their friends and family, and that this has been a significant issue for those who live by themselves. Support bubbles were introduced to assist the loneliest and most isolated in society.
“Any changes to the guidance on social contact will be made in line with the latest available scientific evidence.”