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INQUIRY UPDATE 2 – AUGUST 2019

Oral Hearings

The oral evidence hearings are now completed for the summer.

The Inquiry has announced the extra week in October as Tuesday 29 October to Friday 1 November.

There will then be hearing on 21, 22, 26, 27 and 28 November where experts from the psychosocial and clinical groups appointed by the Inquiry will give evidence on the following topics:

  • the psychosocial impact on people infected and affected;
  • current clinical knowledge about haemophilia, other blood and bleeding disorders and primary immunodeficiencies; and
  • current clinical knowledge about hepatitis and HIV, and current and past treatments for hepatitis and HIV and their consequences

You can now register to attend any of the October and November hearings on the Inquiry website.

At this stage we have not been informed if/when written reports from the Inquiry’s experts will be disclosed to Core Participants for consideration. We will of course push for disclosure of any such reports in good time prior to the November hearings.

Access to Medical Records

We are aware of the ongoing problems with access to medical records experienced by a number of our clients and have raised this repeatedly with the Inquiry Team. We have sought to agree an approach with the Inquiry as to the access clinicians are allowed to individuals’ records but without success. As we understand it clinicians are still being allowed to access patient records direct in circumstances where the Inquiry perceives there are criticisms of that clinician in the patient’s written statement. We have advised the Inquiry that we disagree with this approach.

Documentary Evidence

Despite repeated requests we have not had any further information about how/when the Inquiry intends to deal with disclosure.

Next Steps

We will publish a further update prior to the October hearings. If you want any further information in relation to the Infected Blood Inquiry please contact a member of our team on contaminatedblood@collinslaw.co.uk


Inquiry Update

The Inquiry has now completed hearings in London, Belfast, Leeds and Edinburgh with the Cardiff hearings scheduled to take place from 23 to 26 July. The Inquiry will then return to London for three weeks in October. At present the dates for the third, added, week in London have not been confirmed.

The evidence heard to date has covered a range of issues. The Inquiry has heard from those infected as a result of treatment with contaminated blood products and transfusions as well as those affected by the loss of a loved one or living with and supporting someone who has been infected. We are currently carrying out an analysis of the evidence heard to date which we will complete following the Cardiff hearings and report on in due course.

Documentary Evidence

The Inquiry states it has completed its hardcopy search of 2.5 million pages of documents provided by the Department of Health and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as well as 3 million pages of material provided by NHS Blood and Transplant. The next step will be to search the electronic material held by these agencies.

Electronic searches and hard copy searches have also been completed for the following:

  • Welsh Government
  • Welsh Blood Service
  • Northern Ireland Government
  • Northern Ireland Blood and Transplant Service
  • Public Records Office, Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service

You will also be aware that there is a specific Inquiry Team based at the National Archives reviewing the documentation held there.

What is less clear is when and how the Inquiry envisages sharing the results of its disclosure investigation with the Core Participants and their legal teams. We are in correspondence with the Inquiry in relation to this issue which we know is of concern to our clients.

Next Steps

The Inquiry Team has indicated that there will be further oral hearings in November where a panel of experts will give evidence in relation to the effects of HIV and Hepatitis C both in relation to the infections themselves but also in respect of other conditions linked to the infections and the side effects of the medications used to treat each infection.

If you want further information in relation to the Infected Blood Inquiry please contact a member of the Contaminated Blood Team.