HC Deb 24 November 1994 vol 250 cc330-1W
Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals she has to strengthen the guidelines covering the transportation of(a) corpses, (b) other parts of the body and (c) specimens between hospitals, pathology laboratories and mortuaries with respect to (i) strength of container, (ii) types of vehicle, (iii) strapping or fixing of container, (iv) instructions to driver, (v) type of company or public corporation owning vehicle, (vi) use of preservative fluid and (vii) other considerations; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville

In arranging for the transportation of bodies and pathological specimens between facilities, health service personnel need to be conscious of the sensitivities involved. They will also need to take account of the nature and degree of any infection risk, and the requirements which will consequently apply.

In 1991 the Health and Safety Executive's health services advisory committee issued updated guidance, commended to the health service by the national health service executive, on "Safe Working and the Prevention of Infection in Clinical Laboratories" and "Safe Working and the Prevention of Infection in the Mortuary and Post Mortem Room".

The guidance includes references to the transportation of specimens, including large specimens such as limbs. I have no plans to further strengthen the guidelines at present. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.

Further national and international guidelines relate to the transport of goods which are classified as dangerous, including pathology specimens which may pose a risk of infection.

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