The Mortuary at Barnsley Hospital is situated approximately 50 metres from the Pathology block - across the Hospital perimeter road.
Please note, as of 17th April 2023, Post-mortem examinations are now perfomed at the Sheffield Medico-Legal Centre and are performed during weekdays only.
Hospital post-mortem examinations (non-coronial cases)
A post-mortem consent form must be completed and signed, in all hospital post-mortem request cases.
It is normal to issue a death certificate with the appropriate box ticked ‘Information from post mortem may be available later’.
If the cause of death is uncertain, the death should be reported to the Coroner.
Please call a senior member of the Mortuary Team on 01226 432335 for advice on the consent process, and the appropriate documentation required.
Coroner’s post-mortem examinations
Do not delay reporting cases to the Coroner’s Officer.
You can contact the Coroner’s Officer, weekdays from 7.00am to 3.00pm by calling 0114 273 4004.
Lists of which cases to refer to the Coroner are available on the RCPath Cause of death list
The Patient Relatives Officer can be reached on extension 1393.
The Medical Examiner’s Office can be reached on extension 2192. They can also advise with these matters. However, if in any doubt you are advised to contact your consultant or the Coroner’s Officer.
The following is a guide as to which deaths should be reported. Remember failure to report, or delay, may cause the bereaved relative unnecessary distress.
A death should be reported to H.M. Coroner if:
- The cause of death is uncertain.
- There are any elements of suspicious circumstances.
- There is any history of trauma (including domestic falls and accidents) - whenever it occurred.
- There is any question of self neglect or neglect by others.
- The deceased was detained under the Mental Health Act.
- The death may have been contributed to by the actions of the deceased (such as self injury, history of drug addition or solvent abuse).
- The deceased was receiving any form of war pension or industrial disability pension for emphysema, pneumoconiosis or mesothelioma - or at the time of death a claim for industrial lung disease was pending.
- The death occurred during an operation, or before full recovery from the effects of the anaesthetic, or was in any way related to the anaesthetic (in any event a death within 14 days of surgery should normally be referred for post-mortem.
- The death may be related to a medical procedure for treatment whether invasive or not (includes endoscopy, lumbar puncture, pleural aspiration and drug reactions)
- There are any other disturbing features to the case.
Medical staff must complete Death Certificates following conversation with the Medical Examiner (ME). The ME will advise the doctors to correct completion and cause of death.
Please contact the Patient Relatives’ Officers (PRO) on extension 1393 for further advice about the completion of death certificates and cremation forms.
Please note - you should not defer completing a death certificate until after the result of a hospital autopsy examination.
You should put down your opinion as to the cause of death and initial the section. Avoid using vague terminology on the death certificate such as ‘heart failure’ without qualification and also such terms as ‘cerebrovascular accident or incident’.
The word ‘accident’ or ‘incident’ should be avoided. Instead, use terms such as:
- ‘spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage’
- ‘cerebral infarction’
- ‘cerebral thrombosis’
- ‘subarachnoid haemorrhage’
A death certificate should not be issued in the case of the Coroner’s post mortem examinations. The Coroner will issue a disposal certificate.
In all cases consideration should be given to the bereaved relatives. Documentation should be completed as soon after death as possible, to facilitate burial or cremation in a timely manner.
If you are going to be absent for a day or a weekend, please ensure that you inform the colleague who is covering you.
Mortuary opening hours
Monday to Thursday - 8.00am to 4.00pm
Friday - 8.00am to 3.30pm
You can call the mortuary on: 01226 432335
At weekends and on Bank Holidays (and at all other times that are out-of-hours), the Mortuary Technician on call may be contacted.
To reach the Mortuary Technician on call, contact the Hospital Duty Manager via switchboard, or bleep: 219.
Hospital guidelines for the viewing of the deceased
These principles relate both to people who have died in hospital and those who have been brought to the mortuary from elsewhere.
Viewings should take place between the hours of 9.00am and 3.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
No viewings should be arranged without first ensuring that mortuary staff are available.
Where possible viewings should take place on the ward or within Accident & Emergency. Where this is not possible (because of perhaps the length of time before the relative can attend or the location of the patient’s bed), viewings should be arranged with the mortuary.
During “normal working hours”
Viewing arrangements can be made directly with the mortuary. Staff will encourage those wishing to view to do so within normal working hours. No viewing will be undertaken without a prior appointment having been made.
Outside “normal working hours”
When switchboard, wards and departments receive requests for viewings after the mortuary has closed, they should encourage those wishing to view to make arrangements for the following day.
Where this is not acceptable to those wishing to view the request must be directed to the Hospital Duty Manager.
Where a request for viewing outside normal working hours is authorised by the Hospital Duty Manager, they will contact the on-call Mortuary Technician to arrange.
The Hospital Duty Manager will ascertain the arrival time of those wishing to view and will agree this time with the on-call Mortuary Technician.
If required, ward or department staff or the Hospital Duty Manager, will accompany those wishing to view the deceased, at the mortuary.
Mortuary staff will not attend the mortuary outside normal working hours for:
- police identification of bodies (unless preparation of the body is required prior to identification i.e. as a result of a RTA)
- to assist a Doctor for the viewing of a body, for the completion of cremation forms (please note: completion of cremation forms is carried out during working hours only, when mortuary staff are available to assist)
- issue of cadaver bags to wards (stocks are held on A&E, ward 16 & ward 31)
These are completed in the Medical Examiner’s Office when they notify medical staff that a cremation is planned for the deceased. If in any doubt about how to complete the form, please contact the Medical Examiner’s Office via extension 2192.
Barnsley NHS Foundation Trust has a Last Offices Protocol for all patients being transported to the mortuary. Please ensure that the Last Office ID card is completed in full and given to the porters accompanying the patient to the mortuary.
This webpage was reviewed and updated by Dan Firth, Quality Manager, 27th October 2023