Miscarried and aborted babies will no longer be sent to be incinerated by Colchester General Hospital following a Government ban.

The Turner Road hospital had, in most cases, been sending remains of babies under 12-weeks-old to be incinerated by a clinical waste management specialist company based on the Ipswich Hospital site.

More than 1,100 foetal remains were sent for incineration between 2011 and 2013.

The practice, which is used by some other hospitals but not by Ipswich Hospital itself, was featured in last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has asked Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, to ban inceration of foetal remains. 

A Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: "The material that goes to Ipswich is kept separate from general clinical waste and is treated with dignity.

“If a parent or family requests a funeral service for this pre-12 weeks material we do, of course, fulfil their wishes – and we do occasionally receive such requests.

“We will scrutinise the letter that NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is writing to all NHS hospital trusts and make sure we make changes to comply with his guidance.”

For babies who are miscarried or aborted after 12 weeks the hospital has an arrangement with a local funeral directors which organise funerals, without any charge to the parents.