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Ipswich: MP slams practice of incinerating miscarried and aborted babies in Channel 4 Dispatches

PUBLISHED: 20:17 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 21:52 24 March 2014

An investigation by Channel 4s Dispatches revealed a waste-to-energy facility at Ipswich Hospital, which powers the Heath Road site, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

An investigation by Channel 4s Dispatches revealed a waste-to-energy facility at Ipswich Hospital, which powers the Heath Road site, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

An MP has pledged to ban the practice of incinerating miscarried and aborted babies at a Suffolk hospital.

It comes after an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches revealed a waste to energy facility at Ipswich Hospital, which powers the hospital, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

However a spokeswoman from Ipswich Hospital Trust has made it clear that the incinerator, which is run by private company SRCL, burns foetal remains brought in from another hospital.

She said that Ipswich Hospital uses cremation services for bereaved parents and does not incinerate foetal remains.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter, who is also MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk, has now stepped in to order an immediate ban on incinerating foetal remains.

He said: “This practice is totally unacceptable. That is why I asked Professor Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, to write to all NHS hospital trusts and make clear that it must stop now.

“The chief medical officer has also written to the Human Tissue Authority to ask them to make sure that there is clear guidance on this issue.

“While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”

The programme, which broadcast Monday tonight, is hosted by actress Amanda Holden, who suffered a miscarriage in 2010 and delivered a stillborn son in 2011.

She investigated the NHS treatment of parents who lose a child in the early stages of pregnancy and found they were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

In the documentary, she told Mr Poulter: “One of the most shocking things to me is that some hospitals are running off the energy from foetal remains and one is in your patch, Ipswich. Essentially Ipswich is powering the hospital by burning babies.”

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “The hospital has been contacted by Dispatches in the making of the programme and we have confirmed and underlined to them that we don’t incinerate any foetal remains in the independent waste energy plant which leases land from the hospital on the hospital’s site.”

SRCL did not respond to this newspaper at the time of going to press.

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