Model consent forms
The HTA has published model consent forms for post-mortem examinations and body donation. These forms provide a suggested format for Trusts obtaining consent for these purposes.
The model consent forms are not prescriptive due to local variations in practice and may be adapted as necessary for local needs, provided they comply with the Human Tissue Act 2004 and the HTA’s codes of practice. Consent forms are only one part of the consent process and should be completed after appropriate discussion and explanation.
In Northern Ireland, HSS Trusts and other relevant organisations should use the standardised consent forms agreed with the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).
Post-mortem examination consent form
This model consent form provides a suggested format for NHS Trusts obtaining consent for post-mortem (PM) examination of adults, in line with the requirements of the Human Tissue Act 2004. The form may be adapted, providing it complies with the Act and follows the HTA’s Codes of practice on Consent, Post-mortem examination and Disposal of human tissue. It could be used for older paediatric cases, but is not recommended for stillbirths, neonatal deaths, fetal tissue or non-fetal products of conception.
Staff seeking consent for PM examination must ensure that they have appropriate consent, in line with the Human Tissue Act 2004. Staff must ensure that consent is given by the person concerned whilst alive, their nominated representative or (in the absence of either of these) someone in a qualifying relationship with the deceased immediately before they died.
The consent form is important as a record of consent given. The completion of the form is just one part of the consent process. Full explanation of the PM examination procedure along with discussion and time for reflection by those consenting, are equally important. Individuals and relatives should be able to discuss this process fully and ask any questions. Staff seeking consent for PM examination must be trained in how to obtain valid consent.
Consent is only valid if proper communication has taken place. Consideration should be given to the needs of individuals and families whose first language is not English.
The consent form covers consent for the PM examination itself as well as for the retention and use of organs and tissue following the PM examination.
Perinatal post mortem consent forms
The Sands post mortem consent package has been developed in consultation with the HTA, to provide information and guidance about post mortems for health professionals and bereaved parents whose baby has died before, during or shortly after birth.
The package has been developed in close consultation with health professionals and bereaved parents across the UK, to make it easier for health professionals and parents to discuss a post mortem, and to ensure that parents can make an informed choice and give proper consent.
Body donation consent form
The body donation consent form provides anatomy schools with the expected minimum standards to be followed. Anatomy schools may wish to insert additional local information to the form as appropriate. Please note that the model consent form on this page is designed for anatomy schools to give to adapt as required and issue to the public. Members of the public should not complete these forms directly from our website and send to the HTA.
Updated January 2013