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Mortuary care to improve

11th August 2006

21072006_mortuary1.jpgNew guidelines have been announced setting out eight key principles to developing good practice for NHS mortuary services, ensuring staff deal with the bodies of people who die in hospital appropriately. The guidelines state that services must be ‘responsive to individual needs, respectful, safe and secure’, and confidential.

The guidelines come after mortuary services have been criticised over recent years. The Bristol inquiry into a high child death rate from heart surgery and the Alder Hey organ retention scandal in Liverpool both highlighted problems, stressing that the quality of support for bereaved people and care for deceased patients must improve.

The new document, however, also includes examples of good practice, including an initiative from Hull and East Riding Hospitals trust which is working in co-operation with the local Muslim community and local authority to provide suitable facilities to use for preparation of their loved ones’ bodies according to their religion, for example ritual washing.

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