Lancashire & Blackburn with Darwen
Our facility based in Preston, Lancashire was opened in 2018 and supports the Coroner from Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.
Digital Autopsy UK provide a full end to end service with deceased being collected from and returned to an additional three NHS Trusts within the Lancashire area and reports being sent to the Coroner for consideration on average within 72 hours.
The facility is run by Digital Autopsy UK and uses NHS staff working within the Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to scan the deceased and write the report giving a proposed cause of death for the Coroner to consider.
External examinations of the deceased are undertaken by specially training APTs who document all their findings and photograph any marks for consideration by the Radiologist and/or Pathologist (who undertakes an audit of these examinations on a quarterly basis). The reports are prepared by Radiologists who have received additional training to support them when writing a report for the Coroner outlining a potential cause of death.
The Coroner requested the use of targeted coronary angiography where Radiologists identify that this enhancement may give rise to a potential cause of death. The combination of this enhanced digital autopsy and a standard digital autopsy has led to an average success rate of 94% when giving the Coroner a proposed cause of death – one of the highest rates, if not the highest success rate in the country.
Dr James Adeley, Senior Coroner for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen said “There can be few more distressing events to a family to know that after the death of loved one, they will be opened up and have their organs and brain removed. In any other diagnostic field of medicine, exploratory surgery and related diagnostic procedures are now ancient history having been replaced by CT and MRI. In most cases, post-mortem CT scanning provides the same accuracy as traditional pathology without the need to disrupt the body of a loved one. This is appreciated by families and religious communities. The partnership between Digital Autopsy UK and Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides a very effective coronial Digital Autopsy scanning service with a rapid turnaround, a high diagnostic rate and is a great satisfaction to bereaved families. In a small percentage of cases Post-mortem CT does not provide the answer and pathology remains an important investigation in complex cases.”
Our facility based at Sandwell Valley Crematorium opened in November 2014 and supports Coroners from Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
The facility is run and staffed by Digital Autopsy UK. The deceased are held at individual NHS mortuaries and are transported by the Trusts to the facility. Time slots are available to be booked through Digital Autopsy UK for the bodies to be brought to the facility.
Zuk Funeral Services recently accessed the facility and both they and the Muslim Association of Funeral Directors gave the following feedback:
“We were given a scan appointment for Friday at 2pm, we requested that the scan be made earlier due to the fact that it conflicted with Friday prayers which is the most important day of the week for Muslims. Our request was gratefully accommodated and it was moved forward to 12pm. This meant that we could perform our Friday prayers and also carry out the funeral duties of transporting Mr Y to and from the Hospital. Could we extend our heartfelt thank you and would like to acknowledge the work ethos commitment of two of the Digital Autopsy UK dedicated staff whose efforts and going the extra mile was truly appreciated by the family (& us also). We would like to state how pleased we are on how the scan went and are truly grateful for the empathy shown by your staff.“
Our facility based in Sheffield was our first facility and opened in 2013. It supports the Coroners from Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham.
The Digital Autopsy facility is based in a purpose-built site attached to the public mortuary. Digital Autopsy UK staff and run the Digital Autopsy facility and Sheffield City Council operate the Public Mortuary. Once a Digital Autopsy has been completed a Pathologist employed by Sheffield City Council will review the reports to give a Cause of Death to HM Coroner based in South Yorkshire West.
Since April 2020 the facility has also been used by Doncaster Council with bodies being transported from Doncaster NHS Mortuary to the Sheffield Facility for reporting. Bodies are taken from Doncaster Mortuary which is run and operated by the NHS Trust and the reports are read by Pathologists employed by the NHS Trust. In September 2021 the facility also supported Rotherham and we now cover the whole of the South Yorkshire East Coroner jurisdiction.
Our facility based in Stoke was opened in 2019 and supports the Coroners from Staffordshire, Burton and Nottinghamshire.
This facility is set up differently to our Sheffield facility. It is a relocatable facility, attached to the public mortuary. Digital Autopsy UK employ and run the Digital Autopsy facility but the mortuary staff and Pathologists are employed by the local authority. Digital Autopsy reports are prepared by Pathologists who work for the local authority.