The information in this section is for professionals only

Due to the sensitive nature of the material, some of the information in this section is likely to be upsetting and cause distress to bereaved parents and their family and friends.  

Therefore, if you are a bereaved parent or family member or friend seeking information about post-mortem examination, please see our free booklet: Understanding why your baby died

For more information and support, please call our Helpline on: 0808 164 3332

Post mortem examination

The RCM is delighted with all the work that has gone into this invaluable resource for practitioners and is very pleased to support it.

Professor Cathy Warwick, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives.

A post mortem examination is the single most useful investigation in providing information about cause of death, but research shows that a significant number of health professionals underestimate the value of a post mortem and others find it difficult to broach with parents.

One important way to increase post mortem rates is to improve the quality of the consent process. The Sands Post Mortem Consent Package improves the consent process for both bereaved parents and professionals.

The package contains:

  • A parent friendly consent form, endorsed by the Human Tissue Authority and supported by the relevant professional organisations
  • Guidance for health professionals who discuss post mortem consent with parents
  • A booklet to be given to parents whose baby has died when the option of a post mortem is first mentioned
  • Guidance for hospital, trust or health board managers who are deciding whether to adopt the Sands post mortem consent form
  • Learning outcomes for training health professionals who will seek consent.

All these documents can be downloaded from the Human Tissue Authority website.

Please note that parents should be offered printed copies (not downloads) of the booklet Deciding about a post mortem examination. Free printed copies are available from the Sands shop. There is a charge for postage and packing.


Obtaining Perinatal Post-Mortem Consent - E-Learning

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) has worked with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and Keele University to develop an e-learning resource to support health professionals who are required to discuss perinatal post-mortem consent with bereaved families.  This e-learning programme aims to improve the knowledge and confidence of health professionals speaking to parents which will enable parents to make a well informed decision.

Visit the e-Learning for Healthcare website here to access the module


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