A health roup was fined £100,000 for the unauthorised storage of human tissue at an unlicensed premises. The fine was handed down at Worcester Crown Court, following a guilty plea from Circle Health Group Limited (formerly known as BMI Healthcare) in July.

The conviction is the result of an extensive investigation led by the Human Tissue Authority, West Mercia Police, and West Midlands Police. Investigators found that for at least 11 years, BMI Edgbaston had illegally stored human tissue samples. These samples were collected under the direction of a surgeon working at the hospital. Not only did the hospital lack the appropriate Human Tissue Authority licence, but it also allowed the tissue to be moved to a private address, which was also unlicensed.

The group failed to conduct any reasonable checks for the existence of such a licence. An internal audit had already flagged the inappropriate storage of human tissue at the hospital in both 2015 and 2019. Despite this, the hospital management's response was deemed "wholly inadequate," showing a poor understanding of the Human Tissue Act.

Following the investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised West Mercia Police to charge the group in April 2023.

Detective Inspector Mark Walters, the 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." He further highlighted the importance of adhering to the Human Tissue Act, stating it "is essential that the requirements of the act are adhered to by everyone at all times."

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Human Tissue Authority, also welcomed the conclusion of the case, stating, “This sends a strong message to anyone wanting to use human tissue that they must follow the law." He advised anyone unclear about the Human Tissue Act to consult the Human Tissue Authority website for guidance.