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John Watkinson, Chief Executive of Kings Mill Trust
"All actions were based on a humane approach"
 real 28k

The BBC's Midlands Correspondent Richard Bilton
"The allegations were made by a hospital worker at the hospital"
 real 28k

Sunday, 4 June, 2000, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Probe into new baby organ scandal

King's Mill Centre: Site of the latest organs scandal
Health secretary Alan Milburn has ordered an urgent inquiry into allegations that hospital staff were ordered to dump a stockpile of organs from dead babies and adults.

NHS workers at King's Mill Centre in Nottinghamshire say they were told to throw foetuses, babies' brains, hearts and other vital organs into clinical waste bags for disposal.

The hospital's consultant pathologist Geoffrey Hulman has been suspended while investigations are carried out into what is the latest in a series of scandals involving human organs.

Last year there was a public outcry after hundreds of body parts were discovered at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

The hospital was accused of removing the organs of dead children without their parents' consent.

Mr Milburn described the latest allegations, made to a Sunday newspaper, as "very disturbing".

'Extremely concerned'

"I am extremely concerned about the report and the allegations," he said.

"My concerns are particularly with the relatives of the families involved."

Mr Milburn said he wanted the investigation to report back to him as soon as possible.

Workers at the Nottinghamshire hospital said Dr Hulman told them to make the clearout just days after new guidelines relating to organ disposal were issued by the Royal College of Pathologists in March.

The guidelines advised hospitals to search records to see if specimens had been kept without relatives' permission.

But the workers, who videoed the body parts and foetuses before disposing of them, said in some cases they had been told to destroy evidence of identity.

'Out of step'

The hospital in Sutton in Ashfield said its examination of foetuses and still-born babies at post mortem had been stopped two years ago.

"We understand the foetal tissue which is the subject of the video tape was obtained several years ago and its disposal as clinical waste was discussed and agreed between the consultant in question and mortuary staff," said the hospital's chief executive, John Watkinson.

He said he realised that previous practices were "out of step with public opinion" and said that procedures at the hospital would now be reviewed.

Allegations against the hospital were made to the News of the World, which said it had two video tapes made by mortuary staff.

Mr Milburn said that the Department of Health had instructed all hospital trusts to implement policies in which allowed staff to raise their concerns about such matters.

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See also:

24 Mar 00 | Wales
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