Cwm Taf Health Board apology over mortuary failings

Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil Image copyright Google
Image caption Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tyfil opened in 1978

A health board chief has apologised after a damning report revealed dozens of failings at two of its mortuaries.

The regulator found 32 failings at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles hospitals in south Wales.

Bodies were left on tables when fridges were full and some were visible from nearby buildings, the Human Tissue Authority's (HTA) said.

Cwm Taf Health Board's chief executive Allison Williams told BBC Radio Wales it was taking immediate action.

The report identified a number of "serious issues" which "compromise the dignity of the deceased", including:

  • Bodies could be seen from nearby buildings
  • When the fridge was full to capacity bodies were placed on tables in the unrefrigerated suite
  • Insufficient training and documentation regarding the retention of tissues
  • Poor cleanliness, including cracked flooring, blood on the floor, hair in drains and damp mould

"We have been working with the health board to ensure our serious concerns are addressed, and we will continue to actively monitor their progress and work closely with them until all of the corrective actions are completed to our satisfaction," said Nicolette Harrison, director of regulatory delivery at the HTA.

Image copyright Jaggery/Geograph
Image caption The Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant was one of the hospitals criticised in the report

It comes after the health board was put under "enhanced monitoring".

Ms Williams said: "We have very much recognised the failings identified and identified immediate remedial action with the Human Tissue Authority to put that right."

In response to the criticism over fridges being full, Ms Williams conceded it had sometimes been a problem during poor weather.

"I fully recognise and apologise - that is not something we would consider to be the right or dignified way and we can confirm that that was immediately rectified", she added.

A man told BBC Wales earlier this month he believed his husband's diamond ring was stolen from his body at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, in Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Ms Williams said it was the first such case she had dealt with in her 30-year career, adding that the health board was considering technological solutions to put safeguards in place.

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