Flax Bourton Public Mortuary provides mortuary and post mortem examination services on behalf of the Avon Coroner, who covers the counties of Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire. It is a new, purpose built facility located six miles from the centre of Bristol and serves as a mortuary for the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Southmead in place of hospital mortuaries. Around 1500 autopsies are carried out per year and on site facilities include access to a conference room, multi-headed microscope, text books, computers and internet access. The mortuary has access to the full range of microbiological, biochemical, toxicological, cytogenetic histological investigations as needed. Links with the Genetics lab for frozen tissue DNA extraction and molecular investigations are also available. Trainees attend the mortuary on a weekly basis to carry out supervised post mortems in what has become a very strong and thoroughly enjoyed part of the curriculum.
Currently, there are 12 general adult histopathology consultants providing coronial and hospital post mortem services, including one dedicated honorary senior lecture (and past RCPath autopsy examiner) for autopsy training. There are six Anatomical Pathology Technologists (APTs) who assist in the mortuary, one of whom is a lead for training doctors. In addition a number of Home Office pathologists use the mortuary as needed and experience in forensic cases can be arranged. Experience in paediatric and perinatal post mortems is available at St. Michaels Hospital, behind the BRI.