Royal Free withholds Haemophilia HIV Litigation and other documents from Infected Blood Inquiry

Letters obtained by Factor 8 show that The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has opted in the first instance to withhold a range of documentation relating to the HIV Haemophilia litigation and other matters on counts of both legal privilege and what it refers to as “Common Interest Privilege”.

It has also come to light that the Trust is legally represented by a firm called Bevan Brittan.

In a letter dated 21st September 2018 from the Royal Free to the Infected Blood Inquiry it is clear that the Royal Free does intend to provide / has provided some documentation but that for the time being it has sought to not disclose some documentation on the following grounds.

2. Not disclosed as not within scope:

a. Individual Patient Records, including but not limited to:

i. Treatment Notes

ii. Infusion Records

iii. Transmission Questionnaires, conducted with patients' partners by the Royal Free Hospital post-awareness of seroconversion

iv. Correspondence with patients/ patients' families relating to various matters including complaints and requests for information, which contain personal patient data

In addition to personal data the following was also said to be being withheld:

a. Correspondence between staff within the Royal Free Hospital, titled and/ or referring to 'HIV/ Haemophilia Litigation'

b. Correspondence between staff of the Royal Free Hospital and Beachcroft Stanleys Solicitors, acting on behalf of a predecessor Health Authority

Finally the following documentation was said to be being withheld at this time, it is not entirely clear what this is, but it appears to be documentation / correspondence provided by an individual whose name has been redacted by the Royal Free.

4. Currently not disclosed as subject to common interest privilege to the Trust (as successor to predecessor Health Authorities) and [REDACTED] (in his private capacity).

This documentation comprises:

[REDACTED]

The Royal Free Hospital is in possession of this correspondence and we believe that [REDACTED] voluntarily disclosed this correspondence to the Royal Free Hospital, as an entity with a common interest in the subject matter of the privileged documentation. We therefore consider that the correspondence is the privileged material of the Royal Free Hospital.

A spokesperson from the Royal Free London told Factor 8 that:

The trust is co-operating fully with the Infected Blood Inquiry and shared relevant information in September 2018. In our response, we advised that we would consider disclosing legally privileged material in the future should the inquiry consider it to be in the interests of its work.

A copy of the letter from the Royal Free to the Infected Blood Inquiry can be viewed here.

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