GRIEVING families are being forced to wait more than six months for post-mortem results due to a disruption in toxicology services in Glasgow.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said a backlog of delays was causing families “unnecessary pain” and financial devastation.

It comes amid a dispute between Glasgow University and the Crown Office over the value of the contract for provision of toxicology and pathology services.

Mr Leonard raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions.

He said Gary and Emma, a brother and sister from Lanarkshire, have waited more than six months for their mum’s post mortem results, after she died suddenly in May 2019.

The family now face the stress of their family home being threatened with repossession, as their mother’s life insurance cannot pay out without a death certificate.

Mr Leonard said: "It is bereaved families who are paying the price.

“But instead of getting answers to give them some closure and some peace, Gary and Emma have been waiting twenty six weeks for a final post mortem report.

"And they are still waiting. They have received a standard six-weekly letter three times.

“The Crown Office says that a contractual dispute is to blame.

“But that’s no consolation to Gary and Emma, who have told us that their mother’s life insurance won’t pay out without a death certificate and they are being chased by a mortgage lender, threatening repossession of the family home.

“They could have been spared this deep anxiety, this additional uncertainty and this unnecessary pain.”

The current contract between Glasgow University and the Crown Office had been due to end in early 2020.

Mr Leonard said the Crown has admitted to families that the dispute has affected the timescales for receiving post-mortem reports, and called on Nicola Sturgeon to apologise to bereaved families.

All sudden and unexpected deaths are reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and Glasgow University currently deals with toxicology reports for 90 per cent of drug related deaths in Scotland.

Responding at FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon said she sent her “deep condolences” to Gary and Emma.

She said: “There has been an issue with the Glasgow contract.

"There has now been an agreement to extend that contract to allow these issues to be resolved in the short term.

“Longer term, the Crown Office is considering the future of that service and whether it continues, and if it cannot continue to be performed by Glasgow University what the appropriate arrangements for that are in future.”