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Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is licensed by the HTA to undertake examinations of post mortem samples submitted by clinical consultants and pathologists – the MMMP falls within this scope.  Under the license, the samples may be retained until the examination has been completed and in line with the sample retention policies.

It is the obligation of the requesting clinician or pathologist to ensure that examination of samples they submit to MMMP have been requested by the coroner or appropriate consent has been obtained from the deceased person or their relatives.

Only the specific examinations requested by the sending clinician or pathologist may be performed, when consent has not been obtained for any other work this would be outside the scope of the licence. It will be assumed that the coroner has not asked for any other examinations to be performed

If additional work on samples from the deceased is thought necessary by the medical microbiologist or virologist they must obtain written confirmation of consent from the sending departments.

All relevant material is stored securely and, where possible, under conditions which maintain the integrity of the sample. Patient confidentiality is maintained in compliance with Caldicott principles as are all samples received into the Partnership.

If the sender of relevant material requests tests not performed by the MMMP or a UKHSA Reference Laboratory the sending clinician or pathologist may request the return of the material within two months. The MMMP will dispose of any residual material two months after all testing has been completed, unless ethical approval has been sought to retain the material for further research. Any residual material will be disposed of according to the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust policy for sensitive disposal of samples from the deceased.

Medico-legal specimens

Any specimens submitted for medico-legal purposes should have documentation accompanying these specimens to provide an unbroken chain of evidence.


(Last reviewed March 2023)