Health chiefs respond to criticism of North Cambs hospital mortuary by closing it after Government inspectors leave

10:07 08 August 2014

Wisbech Hospital.

Wisbech Hospital.


Health chiefs responded to “serious concerns” about hygiene and patient record security at the mortuary at North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech, by closing it soon after a visit from Government inspectors.

Wisbech Hospital.Wisbech Hospital.

The hospital was inspected by the Care Quality Commission twice within a ten day period in May and June – who on the first occasion “found concerns about the conditions there.

“We asked staff whether similar concerns had been raised previously and found that although some staff was aware of the issues and that external agencies had mentioned problems, these had not been escalated in the correct way.”

Inspectors raised concerns over the standards of cleanliness and infection control and noted there was “no effective monitoring of these standards.

“We were told the contractors were last in the building at least three weeks prior to our inspection.”

Inspectors noted the refrigerated storage area was clean “but there were several areas in the mortuary that needed cleaning and repairing in order to minimise risk.”

Concerns were raised with the chief nurse and the palliative care lead “who assured us of immediate action taken to remedy the situation”.

When inspectors re-visited 10 days later, unannounced, they found “the area had been cleared and the mortuary was closed with alternative arrangements in place for managing deceased patients.”

Inspectors on their first visit had also found “confidential papers and records, some of which related to patient care, in a room that was not secured.

“These records could be accessed by clinical staff and contractors. We were concerned that there were not systems in place to ensure patient records remained confidential.”

Again, though, on a re-visit 10 days later they found “action had been taken to clear the records and papers from the room.”

However they also found the systems for recording patient details of those who had been transferred to the mortuary to be “inadequate”.

Matthew Winn, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust- which runs a range of health services across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk- said only a small number of actions were identified as ‘must do’ by inspectors.

“The CQC found that there was a lack of oversight of the small mortuary on the North Cambridgeshire Hospital site in Wisbech,” he said.

“The trust took immediate action to permanently close the mortuary and put in place alternative arrangements.”

Mr Winn said the overall judgement of the CQC was that the trust consistently treated patients with “compassion, dignity and respect. Additionally patients were positive about the experience of receiving care from our services”.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cambs Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cambs Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cambs Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories


A man was arrested today after police caught him with a samurai sword near Wisbech town centre.


A man who is part of an animal rescue team is coming to the rescue of children who are too frightened, too young or unable to get out to trick or treat this year - he is going to deliver sweets and treats dressed as a superhero.


An engineering firm from March has swapped their spanners and wrenches for whisks and wooden spoons to raise money for charity.

Yesterday, 16:49

A man who assaulted a woman by patting her on the bottom in March on Sunday night is being hunted by police.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Cambs Times e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up