"Long wait for postmortem and death certificate at Leighton"

About: Leighton Hospital

(as the patient),

My mother in law spent 4 weeks in Leighton hospital. She was on the High Dependency Unit. The treatment that she received during her time on the unit was great. Sadly, she passed away, though the care before she died was good.

However, the service we have had after her death was very poor. It took 30 hours for them to decide she needed a postmortem. And after a week, we still had no death certificate. The coroner's office took so long to decide she needed a postmortem, that we were just left waiting. We couldn't begin to grieve, or even begin to arrange her funeral with a death certificate.

The hospital were not at all helpful with any of these problems. They didn't even call us back to keep us informed when they said they would. This is just not good enough that we have been treated terribly, at a time when we needed it the least. We weren't able to see the body in the chapel of rest and we feel we were put through torture. It's just not good enough!

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Response from Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We were concerned to hear about your experience following your recent bereavement, and wish to pass you our condolences on the recent death of your mother-in-law.

A decision to perform a post-mortem examination sometimes requires discussion with both a Consultant and the Coroner. Although we try to complete these arrangements as quickly as possible, on some occasions they can take as long as three days. When such delays arise, it is essential to keep next of kin fully informed. We apologise that this did not happen in your case, and that you were not called back after being told that you would be. This issue has been fully discussed with staff working in this area.

The Trust will be recruiting a Bereavement Services Manager, who will ensure that support, advice and information is provided to bereaved families. In the meantime, the Medical Director will discuss these points with colleagues.

If you would like to discuss your experience in more detail with us, please do not hesitate to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service for further assistance telephone 01270 612410.