Comment: No stone has been left unturned

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Today’s report into the Mortonhall babies’ ashes scandal makes for extremely hard and often painful reading.

It will be an ordeal for all the families involved to digest what it reveals about the terrible failings at the council-run crematorium.

The 600-plus report goes into absolutely forensic detail about exactly what happpened there and the sensitivies of the grieving parents are not spared in that respect.

That, however, is the right and proper thing in these most testing of circumstances. It is precisely that high level of detail which offers the greatest reassurance that no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of the truth.

Dame Elish Angiolini deserves great credit for producing such a thorough and unflinching report. It has taken time to reach this point, but the wait has clearly been worthwhile and for good reason.

There are many particular findings that will prove particularly traumatic for grieving parents. It seems clear that most will never know with certainty the exact final resting place of their children’s remains.

There can be no doubt that the practices at Mortonhall fell shocklingly far below the standards that every grieving relative has a right to expect.

One of the reasons for that was the failure of the crematorium management to respond to changes within the industry and within society as a whole which demanded a different approach to dealing with babies’ ashes. There were events which should have made clear that change was necessary, but tragically no action was ever taken.

What must happen now is that all the lessons are learned by every agency that is involved in dealing with the death of infants and their bereaved families. It has to be expected that the 23 recommendations in Dame Elish’s report will be implemented as soon as is reasonably possible.

That is the least that grieving parents can expect now.