Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Post Mortem sector guidance

Emergency mortuary facilities

The HTA can issue a licence for emergency mortuary facilities that:

  • undertake post-mortem examinations;
  • store bodies and samples for scheduled purposes; and, or
  • remove samples of relevant material from the deceased for scheduled purposes.

Emergency planning teams should refer to our guidance on licensing emergency mortuary facilities

We will not be charging licensing fees for temporary licences that are required as part of the national response to COVID-19.

Please contact the HTA for advice if you are uncertain about whether your emergency mortuary arrangements require premises to be licensed.

Removal of samples from the deceased to test for COVID-19

Obtaining a swab sample (or any other sample containing cells) from the body of a deceased person to test for COVID-19 can only take place with appropriate consent (or coronial or police authority) and on HTA licensed premises.

Consent – The HT Act sets out who may give consent for this activity – our guidance document  provides information about this. Where consent or authority from an appropriate person has not been given, the activities cannot proceed.

Licensing – HTA licences are premises specific. The relevant licence must be in place before the activity is undertaken.

We will not be charging licensing fees for temporary licences that are required as part of the national response to COVID-19.

Our guidance provides further information about the consent and licensing requirements and how to apply to an HTA licence.

Please contact us for advice if you are uncertain about the licensing and consent requirements for removing samples from the deceased to test for coronavirus (COVID-19).

HTA Reportable incidents (HTARIs)

Establishments in the Post Mortem sector are required to notify the HTA of any reportable incidents, including near misses, within five working days of the incident occurring or being discovered.

We advise that you consider who is best placed to report an incident and make sure there is sufficient cover to report incidents in the event of staff absences. Please ensure that these staff are registered to use the HTA portal to report HTARIs.

Please see our guidance on reporting HTARIs.

Useful resources

The following may be useful to professionals working in the Post Mortem sector.

Last updated on: 15 Oct 2020