Infected blood inquiry head criticises submission of document on day of evidence

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The chairman of the infected blood inquiry has criticised the submission of a document on the morning its co-author appeared to give evidence.

Professor Christopher Ludlam, a consultant haematologist and reference centre director at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from 1980 to 2011, appeared remotely to give evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday.

Jenni Richards QC raised the issue of the document, apparently co-authored by Prof Ludlam and Professor Gordon Lowe – honorary consultant at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, who is due to give evidence at a later date – entitled The Scottish Perspective on Health Care Organisation, Management of Pandemics and Management of Haemophilia Care.

She said: “I’ve not had the time to read it, the chair has not seen it and no core participant or recognised legal representative would have done so because it arrived with the inquiry only this morning.

“In circumstances where the rule nine request for a statement was sent to you on December 12 last year, are you able to assist us with why this document is being sent to the inquiry now?”

Prof Ludlam replied it had taken a while to put the document together and get support from colleagues, and he offered an apology for its lateness.

Ms Richards highlighted the inquiry “has been careful to ask for individual statements” rather than collective documents or submissions.

Asked who produced the document, Prof Ludlam said: “I think it arose out of a discussion, probably between Professor Lowe and the team at the Central Legal Office (CLO).”

“You will not called as an expert even though you have, obviously, expertise … but this is not the right place to make a submission … in due course there will be a chance for you to advise the CLO, no doubt, and to discuss with them.

“It looks as though (it is) an attempt to pre-empt some of the discussion. Well, it isn’t.

“And Ms Richards will ask you the questions that she had in mind.”

He added: “I don’t expect this document to have any further currency in this inquiry – you can revise it as much as you like before the end, I won’t read it until then, because I don’t see any proper evidential basis for doing so.

“If your counsel wishes to persuade me otherwise I’m prepared to listen and I will do so tomorrow afternoon once you finish your evidence.

“But for the moment, I’m not very happy that the document is put forward – I don’t necessarily blame you for it but you were party to it.”

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