The taintedblood Timeline - what really happened...
"the final outcome would be some element of no fault compensation for all haemophiliacs".
Note: It is extremely odd that a solicitor should mention "no fault compensation" (which could be considered a "compromise") in an opinion disclosed so early on. In fact, the opinion was committed to paper nearly 3 years before the Haemophilia / HIV Litigation really got off the ground.
In the minutes of the Twenty-First meeting of the Haemophilia Centre Directors (HCDO) held on Monday 9th October 1989, it is clear that one of the doctors present, Dr Mortimer of the PHLS, was:
"willing to accept samples for Hepatitis C (HCV) testing. The Working Party would be looking at HCV testing in haemophiliacs." (see page 10 of PDF below).
Note: We find this appalling, especially since the date of the minutes is so early, i.e. October 1989. Many haemophiliacs (including two of the authors of this Timeline) were not informed of their HCV status until as many as 3 years later. This was also an extremely sensitive time, since persons with haemophilia in England and Wales were at least 6 months into the HIV Haemophilia Civil Litigation which had begun in April 1989.
From these minutes, we can determine that there was a drive amongst the HCDO Haemophilia Consultants to garner samples of UK Haemophiliacs' blood for early HCV testing. The report of the Independent Inquiry, chaired by Lord Archer of Sandwell, was satisfied that some patients were subjected to tests without knowledge of their purpose and without their consent. It is our belief that results were deliberately withheld from patients until after the signing of the 1991 waivers.
"Dr. Jones said that the Secretary of State, Regional Health Authorities and Committee for Safety of Medicines were being sued; doctors were not being sued. Mr Justice Ognall wished to proceed with the trial quickly."
"Broadly the claim was that the DHSS had failed to stop the use of imported concentrate and had been slow to produce heat-treated concentrates."
"Dr. Rejman, representing the Department of Health, stated that the Governments position was that there was no case for an out of court settlement and that compensation must be sought in the courts. ....He drew attention to the problem that might arise with the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) if individual members could be sued as this might lead to great difficulty recruiting people who would be prepared to serve on the Committee. It was not a simple problem."
"Dr. Green asked Dr. Rejman if the case could be settled out-of-court if the claim against the CSM was withdrawn. Dr. Rejman was unable to answer this question but said it was the policy decision of different Governments that was being challenged."
Background: At first glance, the above suggests a classic example of the State influencing legal process. For example, there appears to be a dropping of the 'Duty of Care' allegation. In 1990, Justice Ognall made a 'statement of direction' in which he invited all parties to give 'anxious consideration' to the prospect of a compromise of the proceedings. This was leaked into the press on 26th June 1990. It should be pointed out that the plaintiffs were not made party to this statement until October 1990, 2 months later.
NOTE: It would appear that an 'agenda of compromise' was being proactively worked towards long before Justice Ognall's statement of direction was made public. This can be substantiated by the fact that the government's intransigent position was absolutely clear until it was confirmed that the Licensing Authority and Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) were to be left out of the proceedings. We know that as soon as the Department had confirmation from all parties that physicians and the CSM were going to be omitted from the allegations they conceded to an out-of-court compromised offer. It is clear to us now that the State and the medical profession influenced legal opinion and legal process.
"Dr Savidge raised the point that one member of the AIDS Group was acting as an expert on behalf of the Plaintiffs' and wondered whether it was acceptable for him to take part in the Group's discussions on Litigation and the Defence of the main statement of Claim. Dr Aronstam said he was the person referred to. He had not been asked to be a medical expert witness for the plaintiffs. If the group felt it was awkward for him to be present he would leave the meeting. He pointed out that some other directors were in a similar position and more might be in the future..."
"Dr Rejman said that the cases of Plaintiffs in the Wessex Region were being held back at present and would follow on after the lead cases had been considered. Dr Aronstam said he knew of at least two cases involving his patients which were going ahead as lead cases; it was news to him that Wessex cases were being put back."
"With regard to Health Authorities' Defence to the Re-amended Statement of Claim, Dr Savidge said that he had been using heat-treated Factor VIII as early as 1983 and he was trying to get the Defence's Statement amended as it said heat-treated factor VIII was not used until the end of 1984."
"Dr Lowe suggested that Dr Simpson's advice should be sought regarding the Haemophilia Society's request for information on hepatitis. Was hepatitis likely to be another item for which haemophiliacs would seek litigation and was it advisable for the Haemophilia Centre Directors to continue to collect data? Dr Simpson said it would not be advisable for the Directors to stop collecting data as they had already started to do so. Dr Hill pointed out that hepatitis was not a new thing; only the test was new. After further discussion, Dr Simpson agreed that the Haemophilia Society should not be given hepatitis data."
"Dr Lowe thought there was a difference between testing LFTs and testing for Hepatitis C and he wondered whether the patient's consent to testing should be sought… …Prof Bloom didn't see why permission needed to be asked for Hepatitis C tests as this was just another LFT. Dr Savidge said that patients were now becoming more and more conscious of what tests were, so he would advise caution at present."
Prof Preston quoted results presented at a recent meeting on prevalence of anti HCV in spouses of haemophiliacs. A figure of 20% was found which he thought was very worrying.
Note: The Joint Secretary of the 3 Defence Unions was present at this meeting, as was Dr A. Rejman, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), haematologist and DH Secretariat to the ACVSB.
Type: Penrose Evidence File
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NB Plaintiffs were made party to this statement in October 2 months later (see entry 4th October).
Type: Justice Ognall statement document
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