Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Dying Matters Awareness Week: Are We Ready?

Issue date: 
13 May 2019

Dying Matters Awareness Week is taking place from 13-19 May. This year, Dying Matters are reflecting on a question that challenges everyone on several levels - ‘Are We Ready?’

In line with this theme, the HTA is urging people have conversations with loved ones about donation arrangements after death and we will be explaining what happens if a post mortem of a loved one is required or requested. This is to ensure the public are ready to help themselves, or families and loved ones face up to important decisions of death and bereavement.

The HTA regulates medical schools that receive donated bodies for medical training, hospitals that receive donated organs for transplantation and tissue and brain banks that receive donated tissue for research. The HTA makes sure that these organisations comply with the law when it comes to using and storing the bodies, organs and tissue. A vital part of this is ensuring that the deceased or their family has given their consent for that donation. The HTA offers information and advice to members of the public about the consent requirements for different types of donation.

We also license and inspect all hospital and local authority mortuaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where post-mortem examinations take place. We set standards on all aspects of mortuary practice and make sure that mortuaries operate to these standards. In particular, we make sure that the deceased and their family are treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity.

Nicolette Harrison, Director of Regulatory Delivery at the HTA said: “This year, Dying Matters wants to know, ‘Are We Ready’ for our own deaths, or the deaths of our loved ones? This is a practical question as well as an emotional one. Many people haven’t taken care of the practical aspects, including deciding on whether organs, tissue or body donation is right for you or what to expect if a deceased loved one has a post mortem examination. We want the public to know that through our regulation, we help ensure that bodies of the deceased, human tissue and organs are treated with respect, and are used safely and ethically, and with proper consent”

Join our webinar on our regulation of the Post Mortem sector!

On Thursday 16 May at 2.30pm, our Regulation Managers who inspect mortuaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be hosting a webinar explaining our role in this area and how we make sure mortuaries operate to high standards to support those who are bereaved and are affected by a post-mortem examination. You can find out more about what the webinar will cover and how to register here.

For more information about post mortem examinations.

For more information about body, brain and tissue donation.

For more information about deceased organ donation.

News type: 
Last updated on: 13 May 2019