There were 75 major incidents reported by mortuaries last year.
This included 11 cases of the wrong body being released, and 28 incidents where the bodies were damaged accidentally.
And in one case an “unauthorised individual (gained) access to the mortuary”, reports the Daily Mirror.
This was one of five serious security breaches last year, according to a Freedom of Information request.
Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth, said: “When a family is grieving it must be unimaginably awful that something like this happens.
“These are truly shocking revelations. My heart goes out to the families.”
In one instance, tissue was removed from a body without authorisation or consent.
““Although they are rare, when they happen we work with establishments to ensure a thorough investigation takes place, and improvements are made to reduce the risk of similar incidents happening again”
Human Tissue Authority
There were also cases of major equipment failure and a postmortem not being done in line with the consent, or proceeding with adequate consent.
Incidents are reported to regulator Human Tissue Authority, who said mortuaries deal with around 330,000 bodies a year.
It said in a statement: “Although they are rare, when they happen we work with establishments to ensure a thorough investigation takes place, and improvements are made to reduce the risk of similar incidents happening again.”
In 2017, HTA raised 22 concerns about the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, including one about the potential for bodies being wrongly identified.
But the following year, the mortuary released a body to the wrong funeral director.
This was one of four incidents reported by the hospital.
After Daily Star Online contacted the hospital for comment, it said in a statement: “Any incident involving our mortuary services is investigated internally and reported to the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). We actively encourage our staff to report all incidents, no matter how minor.
“The role of the HTA is to help identify areas of improvement. Our inspection report in November 2017 was positive overall with a small number of improvements identified.
“These actions have now all been implemented, to the satisfaction of the HTA.
“Annually, we release approximately 3,000 bodies from the mortuary and the four incidents reported in 2018 represent 0.13% of the work we do.
“Our mortuary staff are caring and committed individuals who take great pride in caring for the deceased and ensuring that they, and their families, are treated with dignity and respect.”