- The cause of death is unknown
- The death was violent, unnatural or suspicious
- The death may be due to an accident (whenever it occurred)
- The death may be due to self-neglect or neglect by others
- The death may be due to an industrial disease or related to the deceased’s employment
- The deceased was in receipt of a war or disability pension
- The death may be due to an abortion
- The death occurred during an operation or before recovery from the effects of an anaesthetic
- The death may be a suicide
- The death occurred during or shortly after detention in police or prison custody
When the death does not have to be reported to the coroner there is no legal requirement for a post-mortem examination. If any family members would like a post-mortem to be carried out, this can be discussed with a member of the bereavement team. This will not delay the issuing of the medical certificate.
Doctors may also request permission from the next of kin to carry out a post-mortem. This may be done as doctors can find it helpful in the respect of giving the best possible treatment to future patients and importantly to learn more about certain diseases. There is no pressure to give consent but if granted, more information will be given and a consent form to be signed will be thoroughly explained.
Role of the APT
Anatomical Pathology Technologists carry out a range of tasks related to mortuary service work. One of the primary tasks is to assist and support Pathologists conducting post-mortem examinations. As an APT, the extent of involvement during the post-mortem varies depending on experience. A student of anatomical pathology technology would only be expected to carry out certain tasks and would begin by observing mortuary work and examinations. Training in manual handling, infection control and health and safety is also mandatory.
In addition to supporting the Pathologist during the examination, APTs are responsible for:
•The everyday running and maintenance of the mortuary
•Ensuring that accurate identification is recorded
•Liaising with HM Coroner’s officers, police, medical and nursing staff, funeral directors, bereaved relatives and loved ones
•Conducting viewings in an environment specifically designed for this purpose
•Providing information in respect of documentation required, such as cremation forms and death certificates
•Administration and clerical duties
•Releasing deceased persons into the care of the family’s chosen funeral directors
APT as a career
It is recommended that a student APT is educated to at least five passes at G.C.S.E (or Scottish equivalent) level grade A-C, to include English, Maths and a Science (preferably Biology). Jobs are advertised either in the local or national press, through the NHS website and also by the Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology.
NHS Jobs Website