Hospital group fined £100,000 over unlawful storage of human tissue at BMI Edgbaston

BMI Edgbaston had been storing human tissue samples without the necessary licence Credit: BPM Media

A hospital group has been fined £100,000 for unlawfully storing human tissue samples at an unlicensed premises.

Circle Health Group Limited, formerly BMI Healthcare, pleaded guilty in July to storing the samples at BMI Edgbaston without the necessary Human Tissue Authority license.

The human tissue samples were stored unlawfully at the site for over a decade, police said.

Samples were gathered under the direction of a surgeon affiliated with the hospital.

Later, the samples were transferred from the hospital to an unauthorised private residence, under the surgeon's guidance.Internal audits in both 2015 and 2019 had previously flagged inappropriate tissue storage, but the hospital management's response was deemed insufficient.

It appeared that there was a widespread misunderstanding of the Human Tissue Act's stipulations, police said.

The London-based company was handed the £100,000 fine on Monday 23 October, at Worcester Crown Court, following a lengthy and detailed investigation by the Human Tissue Authority, West Mercia Police and West Midlands Police.Detective Inspector Mark Walters, senior investigating officer for West Mercia Police, said: “This is an unusual case and prosecutions under the Human Tissue Act are rare which indicates the severity of the failings by the Circle Health Group in this matter.

“The Human Tissue Act 2004 is in place to provide safeguards and standards as to how institutions retain, store and dispose of an individual’s human tissue. It is essential that the requirements of the act are adhered to by everyone at all times.  

"The serious breach of the licencing requirements by the Circle Health Group over a prolonged period of time undermines the trust placed in the hospital by patients and their families that their human tissue would be dealt with appropriately, ethically and in accordance with the law."

Det Insp Walters said he was "pleased" with the outcome and said he hopes the case will act as reminder of the requirements of the Human Tissue Act.

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Human Tissue Authority added: “I welcome the conclusion of this case and the successful prosecution of Circle Health Group Limited. This sends a strong message to anyone wanting to use human tissue that they must follow the law. 

“The Human Tissue Act 2004 has been in place for nearly 20 years and must be followed. We advise anyone who wants to use human tissue to check our website ( and contact us if they are not clear about what they need to do.”

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