Nottingham Haemophilia Centre u-turns on evidence AFTER Inquiry challenge
Letters seen by Factor 8 show that Mrs Tracy Taylor (Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust) originally told the Infected Blood Inquiry that the Trust had been unable to identify any relevant documents, but that after a challenge from the Inquiry, the Trust did find documents.
A Rule 9 request for documents was sent by the Infected Blood Inquiry on 15th August 2018 and was received by the Chief Executive Office at Nottingham on 20th August 2018.
On 4th September 2018, the Chief Executive at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust wrote to Brian Stanton (Solicitor to the Inquiry) stating that:
I can confirm that an extensive search of both paper and electronic records has been undertaken, however, we have been unable to identify any documents relevant to the Terms of Reference for the inquiry.
A little over 2 weeks later, on 20th September 2018, a Paralegal at the Infected Blood Inquiry e-mailed the Trust asking, inter-alia, the Trust performs a “full and final check for the information previously specified in the Rule 9 request”.
After 3 weeks, on 11th October 2018, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust sent an e-mail back to the Infected Blood Inquiry Paralegal advising that:
Having undertaken a further check for information, as per your suggestion, we are able to report the following.
I can confirm that we do hold some lists dating from 1976 onwards of patient names and F8 products received. This information would also have been provided to the National Haemophilia Database, but is the source information from which their records would have originally been compiled. This data is in the form of a large ledger.
We also have some spreadsheets and hand written lists dating from look back exercises conducted in the past. These contain HCV testing results on patients and some of them include the product treatment information mentioned above. We have paper and electronic copies of some of this information and some is in the form of handwritten (and photocopies of handwritten) notes.
All this data has patient names on, and some also has information about unaffected relatives (contact information) as the data was collected for look back exercises to enable relatives of deceased patients, and current patients to claim under the Skipton Fund.
Whilst we realise that you are not looking at individual patient identifiable records at present, we do hold these should you require them in the future.
Factor 8 reached out to the Trust for comment, a spokesperson said:
NUH continues to co-operate fully with the requests for information received as part of the Infected Blood Inquiry. After multiple, thorough searches, we have provided the appropriate and relevant information which satisfies the requirements of the terms of reference.
Our early search of haemophilia unit documents storage facilities and computer records did not find information pertinent to the original request based on our understanding and interpretation of the Inquiry.
Even after the Trust issued its initial reply, our extensive search continued for information pertinent to the original request. We appreciate we might have made this clearer in our original letter that this work was ongoing.
When it was subsequently suggested that the Trust considered wider documents, we issued a second reply confirming the findings of our search, including that the list of patients had already been provided in full to the National Haemophilia database. As such, we are confident in our assessment that our handling has had no detrimental impact on patients and has ensured that the right information has been provided to properly fulfil the requirements of the national Inquiry.