Ex-minister Ken Clarke ‘not accountable’ for blood merchandise in early days of an infection scandal, inquiry hears

2021-07-27 17:53:33

The previous well being minister Ken Clarke has stated he was “not accountable” for blood merchandise within the early days of the contaminated blood scandal, an inquiry heard.

Showing earlier than the Contaminated Blood Inquiry on Tuesday to offer proof over three days, Lord Clarke stated the controversy surrounding the blood merchandise was one thing that “rarely got here throughout my desk”.

He stated on the time he was distracted with insurance policies similar to closing “previous Victorian asylums” and eradicating “previous geriatric hospitals”.

The contaminated blood scandal, which emerged within the Nineteen Eighties, noticed hundreds recognized with HIV/Aids or hepatitis after receiving blood product therapies for haemophilia.

An inquiry searching for solutions for many who had been affected by the transfusions began listening to proof in April 2019.

Lord Clarke, who held the place of well being minister from 1982 to 1985 and was well being secretary from 1988 to 1990, instructed lead counsel Jenni Richards QC: “Because the tragedy with the haemophiliacs developed, I used to be conscious it was there. Infrequently, normally alone instigation, I bought on the sting of it.

“I did not name conferences on it. I used to be by no means the minister immediately chargeable for blood merchandise. I used to be by no means requested to take a call on blood merchandise.

“I by no means intervened to take a call on blood merchandise. I did intervene or become involved in discussions a bit once I wished to be reassured.”

“Once I arrived (as well being minister), the concept blood merchandise was a really huge a part of the division’s exercise is solely not true.

“It was a really specialist, normally quiet, innocent, topic and was one of many few areas the place we did not have controversy and there wasn’t very a lot for the division to do as a result of the blood transfusion service ran itself.”

Ms Richards requested: “Do you settle for that the (well being) division and ministers inside the division had a accountability to make sure the therapy being offered by the Nationwide Well being Service was secure?”

Lord Clarke responded: “Sure, that is why now we have this community of security of medicines committees, licensing authorities. They’ve authorized energy… to be sure to haven’t got some eccentric physician who’s prescribing issues which aren’t really clinically confirmed or advisable.

“By no means does the minister personally begin intervening and imposing a private choice on what therapy the sufferers (get).”

In 1972, the UK accepted a brand new model of Issue VIII, a blood clotting protein which helps stop bleeds from occurring, for use to deal with haemophilia sufferers in Britain.

Blood merchandise later started being imported from abroad after the manufacturing of Issue VIII within the UK was thought-about to be inadequate to fulfill demand.

By 1983, fears had been raised that the blood merchandise contained hepatitis and HIV/Aids.

It was later discovered that many individuals with the situation had been given blood merchandise, similar to plasma, which had been contaminated with hepatitis and HIV.

The inquiry continues.

Extra reporting by PA

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