Mortuary review group: response

Response to review the standard of all mortuaries across Scotland, as defined by the Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008.

Annex B: Terms of Reference for the Mortuary Review Group


Mortuaries of satisfactory quality must be a respectful and dignified resting place for the deceased, be supportive and comforting environment for the bereaved during the distress of attending and identifying the deceased and be a suitable, safe and healthy workplace for the professionals involved in the care of the deceased and the investigation of death.


The Mortuary Review Group will undertake a broader review of mortuary provision in Scotland, as defined by the Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008. We are also suggesting that the group has a wide remit that covers the following possible themes/areas:

  • Input into the review/refresh of Scottish Health Planning Note 20 ( SHPN20) by Health Facilities Scotland ( HFS).
  • Implementation of the revised SHPN20 and compliance of facilities and services with SHPN20.
  • Ensure local government and NHS Boards understand their statutory duties under the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008, ensuring that appropriate service level agreements are in place which define the standards to be delivered.
  • Capacity of mortuaries (both facilities and staff resources/skills) to meet current demand and future requirements.
  • Clarification of roles and responsibilities in ensuring and monitoring that mortuary facilities meet required standards, are used appropriately, and that correct procedures are in place and followed when relatives are required to visit.


Membership will include representation from parties considered to have an active involvement in the provisions of mortuary services.

Membership at a minimum will include representation from:

  • The Chief Medical Officer Directorate at Scottish Government (who will be Chair)
  • Contract Managers (Local Authority and NHS Board)
  • Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit ( COPFS)
  • NHS Chief Executives
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Police Scotland
  • Principal Architect at Health Facilities Scotland
  • Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Dundee
  • Public Health Division at Scottish Government
  • Representation from the campaign to improve mortuary facilities
  • Resilience Response and Communications Unit at Scottish Government
  • Chair, Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


  • The number of meetings will be determined at the first meeting, but it is expected that this will be a short piece of work that requires no more than 3 or 4 meetings.
  • In the absence of the chair, the vice-chair will assume that role for the duration of the meeting.
  • The group may ask any other official to attend to assist it with its discussions on any particular matter.
  • Papers for meetings must be circulated to members the week prior to the meeting date.
  • An Action Point Tracker will be maintained to monitor progress on key issues raised at meetings.


  • The group will formally report back to the Minister for Public Health and Sport on the themes outlined in the 'purpose' section highlighted above.
  • The Minister will determine what action is taken with the report.

Group Members

  • Dr Mini Mishra, Senior Medical Officer, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Rob Ainsworth, NHS Lothian
  • Rob Beattie, Scientific Bereavement and Registration Senior Manager, Edinburgh Council
  • DC Gareth Blair, Police Scotland
  • Gareth Brown, Deputy Director Health Protection, Scottish Government
  • Jane Davidson, Chief Executive, NHS Borders
  • Maureen Doherty, Core Associates
  • Stewart Fleming, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pathology
  • Ishbel Gall, Chair Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology
  • Susan Grant, Health Facilities Scotland
  • David Green, Head of the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit ( COPFS)
  • Alan Morrison, Health Finance and Infrastructure, Scottish Government
  • Cheryl Paris, Pubic Health Division, Scottish Government
  • Billy Renfrew, Resilience, Scottish Government
  • Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council (Representing SOLACE)
  • Willie Scott, Mortuary Manager, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
  • Sandra Turkington, Resilience Division, Scottish Government
  • Maryan Whyte, Mortuary Campaign


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