Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Post mortem

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, mortuaries where post-mortem examinations take place are licensed and inspected by the HTA. We help mortuaries improve the standard of care they provide, so the public can have confidence that deceased people are treated with dignity and respect. Please note that the HTA does not license post mortem establishments in Scotland. Information about regulation in Scotland is provided by Health Scotland.

We also provide publicly-available advice and information so that bereaved families can make decisions about what should happen to organs and tissue samples removed during a post mortem examination for further examination, after the cause of death has been ascertained. In regulating post mortem examination, we work closely with pathologists. However, we do not regulate their professional practice. We also maintain close links with coroners, who fall outside the scope of our regulatory activity.

Information for regional resilience teams on licensing of emergency mortuaries.
This page contains all the information hospitals and trusts need when considering adopting the Sands post mortem consent form. This form was developed in conjunction with the HTA, by the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity (Sands).
Information about the communication pathway and model consent forms for professionals seeking consent for an adult or child's post mortem
HTA position statement on storage of human material for teaching by schools and colleges
Policy on the sale of bodies, body parts and tissue
This section explains the consent exemptions from the Human Tissue Act (2004)
Position statement on extending existing licences to cover the removal of tissue from the deceased for research
Position statement on consent for post-mortem examination and tissue retention under the Human Tissue Act 2004
The standards that establishments licensed under an HTA post mortem licence should meet
Policy on the management and traceability of tissue samples retained by independent pathologists


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