Appalling failings at Haringey Mortuary

The Ham & High reports:

Auditors criticised [Haringey] mortuary for its haywire record keeping, after a routine visit in May revealed oversights including not properly recording the locations of bodies.

The blunders were so serious the auditor immediately ordered Haringey Council – which runs the supposedly state-of-the-art facility, opened amid much fanfare in February 2009 – to make changes, including adding body storage locations to its database…

In March this year, Lyn Garner promised Haringey had reviewed its procedures and believed it had “as robust a set of arrangements in place as possible”.

But two months later auditors visiting the mortuary found:

  • personal effects of the deceased were not properly recorded in four out of five cases sampled;
  • the body location was not recorded on the admissions book receipt in four out of 10 cases sampled;
  • no-one signed for the collection of a body at all in one case;
  • the undertaker had signed the wrong release form in five out of nine cases sampled;
  • there was nowhere to record whether or not samples of human tissue sent away for testing had been returned;
  • appropriate burial or cremation certificates were available in only four of nine cases sampled.

No wonder Cllr Richard Wilson (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Haringey Council) has said:

These failings are truly shocking. It is terrible to think that bodies are being released without the appropriate paperwork and that proper records are not being kept of where individuals are being kept.

Bereaved relatives rightly expect that every possible care is being taken with their loved one. It is impossible to imagine the hurt and upset that would be caused if a mistake was made.

However, if Haringey Council continues to run the mortuary in such an incompetent manner, a horrible mistake is inevitable.


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