Doctors' charge 'standard'

19:31, Nov 13 2012

A prominent Waikato funeral director said doctors had always charged for cremation papers until it stopped in September.

He said it went into a Waikato DHB "amenity fund" but what that money was spent on remained "undisclosed".

Because doctors have to view the person after death, sometimes at obscure hours, he didn't have a problem with the fee.

The charge itself varied in his experience from $50 to $120, while some doctors waived it.

Why the Waikato DHB stopped the charge, he didnot know, but he said no client ever questioned it.

"The other thing is there's a medical referee.

"His job is to check the paperwork and give permission to cremate, and he charges $40," the man, who did not want to be named, said.

"The big problem I have is when funeral directors put mark-ups on disbursements, which really annoys me. Some funeral homes, and I've worked for them, charge a standard fee whether the doctor fee is $50 or $85, they'll charge a fee of $95 so they win on the lower charges and lose a little on the higher ones," he said.