AN NHS Grampian worker who was suspended after garage staff discovered a corpse in the back of a mortuary vehicle has been allowed to return to work, it was revealed today.
The unidentified worker was suspended last April after the body was discovered by shocked mechanics in the specialist mortuary vehicle when it was left for repairs at the AM Phillip commercial vehicle servicing depot in Aberdeen’s Auchmill Road.
The member of staff was suspended while an independent investigation was carried out into the “distressing” discovery.
NHS Grampian announced today that a review of its mortuary management system had now been completed and handover procedures tightened up as a result of the major review.
A spokeswoman for the health authority said: “I can confirm the investigation has been completed. It highlighted a failure to communicate between porters at a handover during a change of shifts.
“A series of key actions have already been taken. Five have been completed. These related to changes in the management structure to provide more direct support for day to day operations, changes in shift patterns to provide an overlap between supervisors, and daily walk rounds by managers.
“The mortuary vehicle is now checked before each task through a sign-off form and key control to ensure such an incident cannot happen again.”
She continued: “The outstanding actions in response to the investigation recorded in the November meeting have now been completed. The member of staff suspended at the time has returned to work.”
NHS Grampian said nine months ago that the board had already been in touch with the family of the deceased person and had apologised unreservedly for the distress the incident has caused them. They had also contacted the garage and apologised for the distress that may have been caused to their staff.
It is understood that the vehicle had been driven to the garage by a hospital porter who was unaware there was a body on board.