Mix-up over body of MEP Philip Bradbourn 'due to identification failures'
Inadequate mortuary capacity and multiple failures to follow identification procedures led to the wrong body being cremated at an MEP's funeral, an NHS inquiry has found.
The root cause analysis was commissioned by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust after the blunder involving the body of Conservative Euro-MP Philip Bradbourn.
An initial funeral and cremation was held for the MEP in Wolverhampton in January but a second funeral with the correct body then had to take place in February.
The NHS report found that Mr Bradbourn's body was confused with that of another man whose first name and surname each had one differing letter.
Mr Bradbourn's body was taken to a funeral directors on January 2 due to mortuary capacity issues at Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope Hospital.
But the body of the other patient, who died at a different hospital, was "returned" to Good Hope by undertakers four days later after a request from a mortuary worker.
The NHS report concluded: "In summary, the wrong deceased patient was released and subsequently cremated.
"The normal process was complicated by the use of an off-site mortuary and particularly by the return of the deceased patient to the original hospital mortuary.
"It has been established that appropriate identifiers were available on both the documentation and the deceased patient but that checking procedures did not recognise that that there was a discrepancy."
In its findings, the report noted that procedures were adequate but were not consistently followed due to an "over-reliance on name over other data items".
Mr Bradbourn, who had served as a West Midlands MEP in the European Parliament since 1999, died in December last year after a battle against cancer.
In the wake of the 63-year-old's death, Prime Minister David Cameron described the MEP's dedication to public service as "truly admirable".