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.

You can see a list of mortuaries who are happy to be contacted directly by brain banks – to perform brain and spine removals - here. This document will be regularly updated.

HTA advice for mortuaries on contingency arrangements during busy periods
The standards that establishments licensed under an HTA post mortem licence should meet
This page sets out guidance on the definition of what the Human Tissue Act (2004) (HT Act) refers to as ‘relevant material’. This definition excludes human application.
This section explains the consent exemptions from the Human Tissue Act (2004)
Information about the communication pathway and model consent forms for professionals seeking consent for an adult or child's post mortem
Guidance on the disposal of remains following pregnancy loss or termination
Practical guidance on correctly disposing of pregnancy remains
Information for regional resilience teams on licensing of emergency mortuaries
This guidance provides a comprehensive explanation of the responsibilities of toxicologists under the Human Tissue Act 2004.
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).

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