Mortuary Services

People working in mortuaries in NHS hospitals have an important and challenging role. They have to balance a number of different needs – providing an effective, efficient, safe and secure service, while at the same time treating bereaved families respectfully and sensitively and meeting the needs of clinical staff.

Care provided after death:

  • Dignified, respectful and safe transfer, care and storage of bodies to, from and within the mortuary.
  • High standards of care of the body during and after post mortem.
  • Provision of respectful care of bereaved relatives and sensitive accommodation of relatives to facilitate viewing of the body.
  • Provision of sensitive support upon release of products of conception and infants to parents.
  • Effective communication between mortuary staff and other health and social care staff, families and outside organisations that use their services.
  • Liaison with wards and funeral directors in relation to completion of appropriate documentation and regarding transfer of the deceased.

Works alongside:

  • Hospital Doctors, Nurses and Midwives
  • Porters
  •  Histopathology Service
  •  Funeral Directors
  •  Coroner’s Office, PSNI

The Standard of Bereavement Care is enhanced when:

  • The Body Transfer Form is accurately and fully completed
  • The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is completed by medical staff in a timely manner.
  • Mortuary management provide training, supervision and support systems in place for staff
  • Family funeral directors are aware of  the legal processes required prior to the release of a body, for example, that an MCCD must be completed and that is not always possible at the time of death

Standards and Guidelines:

  • HSC Trust/Employers policies and procedures in relation to death and bereavement care.
  • ‘Code of practice 3: Post mortem examination’, Human Tissue Authority 2009.
  • ‘Care and Respect in Death: Good Practice Guidance for NHS Mortuary Staff’, Department of Health, 2006.