Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Regulation of the Post Mortem sector 2017/2018: Shared learning

About the HTA

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) regulates and licenses establishments in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland where post-mortem (PM) examinations take place and tissue may be removed and stored for a number of scheduled purposes as set out in the Human Tissue Act 2004.

We publish Codes of Practice and inspect against licensing Standards. Our remit also includes providing advice and guidance to licensed establishments, to help them comply with the relevant regulatory requirements so that the public can have confidence that the bodies of deceased people are treated with dignity and respect.

We would like to thank all of the establishments who submitted data that has contributed to this report.

Overview of the PM sector

The HTA licences 246 establishments in the PM sector, this number is made up of 180 main sites and 66 satellites sites. Of these 195 are licensed for undertaking PM examinations, 216 are licensed for removal of tissue from the deceased and 9 establishments are licensed for storage only.

Three establishments have removal only licences, mainly to cover removal in cases of sudden unexpected death in infancy and children (SUDIC) in emergency departments or in paediatric units.  

In this document

The HTA assesses risk in the sector in a number of ways, including information from the submission of compliance data by establishments every two years, information from HTA Reportable Incidents (HTARIs) as and when they occur, and findings from inspection.
We regularly review this data to identify key findings so that lessons learned can be shared more widely across the sector. 
This is the fourth shared learning document we have produced. Our aim is to give an overview of the sector and appropriate advice to enable establishments to address the risks identified.

Last updated on: 24 Jun 2019