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College Hospital, Cardiff ‘important’ mortuary failings

“Vital shortfalls” in requirements in mortuary procedures at Wales’ largest hospital have been criticised by a watchdog.

It includes tissue samples on the College Hospital of Wales in Cardiff from 42 autopsy examinations, ordered by police and coroners throughout Wales and Gloucestershire.

Samples had been saved longer than obligatory, in a single case for 5 years.

Cardiff and Vale well being board has “apologised unreservedly” to households.

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) discovered three important and 14 main shortfalls in an inspection in August.

The findings contain:

  • Submit-mortem examinations of 42 folks, 19 ordered by police as forensic instances and 23 by coroners
  • Human tissue – involving samples, slides and complete organs – being retained longer than obligatory; within the majority of instances one or two years and for one pattern, it was 5 years. The same old timeframe could be three months
  • The organs retained included 5 brains
  • Vital shortfalls had been present in procedures overlaying traceability of tissues taken in submit mortem examinations, procedures for disposing of tissue as quickly as fairly potential and in auditing
  • Different failings in 14 main areas and 9 minor areas had been highlighted

The well being board stated it was nonetheless making an attempt to contact 4 households and there have been two instances the place the household’s directions for disposing of supplies had been unclear.

The designated officer accountable for the licence to undertake the mortuary and pathology work has been changed and has returned to a medical position.

  • Learn the HTA report in full
  • ‘Deeply sorry’ – Cardiff and Vale well being board’s full response

Sarah Bedwell, HTA director of regulation, stated the inspection had recognized “quite a few critical points requiring pressing motion”.

She stated there was nonetheless important work to carry the mortuary again as much as an appropriate degree of compliance.

Dr Graham Shortland, Cardiff and Vale medical director, stated: “We’re deeply sorry for any pointless misery that the findings within the report might trigger.

“We’re taking the inspection report very critically and have had groups of individuals engaged on placing proper the areas recognized.”


The hospital carries out as much as 850 autopsy examinations every year from throughout Wales and the mortuary operates underneath a licence from the HTA,

The most recent findings observe the same important inspection eight years in the past.

Though a 2012 inspection was constructive, the well being board’s new chief government Len Richards admitted there had been a deterioration.

“Disappointingly they’ve discovered this, it should not have been right here, it is unacceptable… however it may be put proper,” he stated.

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Media captionWell being board chief government Len Richards stated he was ‘deeply sorry’ for any misery to kin

Well being Secretary Vaughan Gething stated he and his officers had been in dialogue over the previous few weeks with the well being board, which had been “actively working” to handle the problems.

“I’m deeply upset within the failings recognized and there’s nonetheless additional work required to make sure the location is absolutely compliant,” he stated.

“All NHS chief executives have been reminded of well being boards’ duties in relation to compliance with the Human Tissue Act 2004, its related rules, codes of observe and requirements.”

Submit mortem examinations had been suspended for a month on the College Hospital in 2009, after the HTA highlighted issues in procedures, amenities and tools.

The then Cardiff and Vale well being belief had been stated to have made “nice enhancements” inside six months. South Wales Police determined to take no motion.

The case of a former Pembrokeshire service provider seaman, Richard Hughes, 48, who died of a number of accidents after falling whereas on an evening out in Goodwick 10 years in the past, additionally got here to mild right now.

His household found by probability, after the inquest in 2008, that his mind had been eliminated at a submit mortem examination on the Cardiff hospital and by no means returned.

Cardiff and Vale well being belief stated there had been “insufficient communication” between the College Hospital of Wales’ pathology division and the Pembrokeshire coroner.

The well being board has stated any household which believes it could be affected can name 0800 952 0055.

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