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Thursday 22nd August 2019

Some hospitals burning foetuses alongside medical waste

25th March 2014

A recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme reveals that a very small proportion of NHS (UK) trusts have been burning foetuses alongside medical waste.


There have been ten known instances of this happening, with a further two cases of bodies being disposed via incinerators used to heat hospitals.

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, said this practice was "totally unacceptable".

He has asked Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical director, to "write to all NHS hospital trusts, to make it clear that it must stop now".

He also said, "incineration of foetal remains is inappropriate practice and that other methods offer more dignity in these sensitive situations".

The Human Tissue Authority, has a code of practise for the disposal of human tissue that hospitals should be expected to follow.

It also says women who have an abortion or a miscarriage have the right to know about the different options available - burial, cremation and incineration.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, from the Care Quality Commission, said: "I am disappointed trusts may not be informing or consulting women and their families. This breaches our standard on respecting and involving people who use services."

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