Revealed: Haringey Mortuary lost human organ for 10 months

PUBLISHED: 17:11 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 17:11 20 March 2013

Haringey Mortuary in Tottenham.

Haringey Mortuary in Tottenham.


Staff at Haringey Mortuary failed to notice they had lost track of an organ for almost 10 months, it has been revealed.

The scandal-hit mortuary, which is run by Haringey Council, misplaced the organ in May 2011 but only recorded the loss in March 2012. It is not known what the organ was.

An FOI by Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Wilson revealed this was one of three “serious untoward incidents” at the state-of-the-art facility in the last two years.

It also revealed a second organ was discovered after a post mortem, having already released the body to the family. They then compounded the error by failing to report the incident within the deadline required by the Human Tissue Authority, which regulates the mortuary.

Another serious incident occurred in 2012, although details of this mistake have not been revealed by Haringey Council.

The Broadway has previously reported how the mortuary had been the subject of an urgent inspection which found it failed all its standards for governance and quality, and identified four major shortfalls in its operation. A subsequent audit report also found inadequate record keeping at the facility.

Cllr Wilson said: “This is truly appalling. Local residents will be astounded that such horrible mistakes can repeatedly occur at our public mortuary. I can only imagine the distress of the families affected by the terrible errors made by Haringey Council.

“Councils are supposed to provide a good service from cradle to grave but as the past few weeks have show Haringey’s Labour run council is incapable of getting even the basics right.

“How many more mistakes have to be made before the council’s Labour leadership get a grip?”

A council spokesman said: “We recognise that there have been some issues with the mortuary in the past, in response to this the HTA have carried out inspections and we also conducted thorough internal audits of the service last year. A full action plan was put in place to address all the issues identified and all recommendations have been fully implemented.

“On the basis of those improvements to the mortuary service, the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) watchdog confirmed in October 2012 that they are satisfied with the measures we have put in place.”

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