Chief Inspector's Foreword
The thematic review of organ retention published by the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (IPS) in July 2014, found that the public's attitude to death and, in particular, the care of a body after death, has evolved, reflecting cultural diversity as well as an expectation of being involved and consulted on all important decisions regarding their relatives. It also highlighted the impact of medical advances which have significantly reduced the need to retain whole organs for diagnostic purposes.
The impetus for the inspection was the identification by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) of a number of cases where nearest relatives had not been made aware that an organ had been retained for further examination at the conclusion of a post-mortem examination instructed by COPFS.
Recognising that the public must have confidence that the examination of a body after death is conducted in a professional and respectful manner and that nearest relatives must always be informed if an organ has been retained, the Lord Advocate commissioned the IPS to undertake an independent review of COPFS procedures and systems governing organ retention.
The review made 10 recommendations designed to strengthen the systems governing organ retention and remove the risk of nearest relatives not being informed of organ retention following any post-mortem instructed by COPFS.
All the recommendations were accepted by COPFS and we are encouraged by the substantial progress that has been made towards their full implementation.
HM Chief Inspector