Update On ‘Tainted Blood’ Scandal – The Culprit

In my posts ‘News Round Up, May 10 2017’ and ‘Dr Death’, I discussed the ‘tainted blood’ scandal that is currently causing so much distress to so many in the UK. It has been admitted by the Gov’t that the NHS gave thousands of haemophiliacs, as well as a number of other people, blood products derived from blood donated in the U.S. and that many people were infected with HIV or Hepatitis C as a result. Approx 2000 people have died as a result and many more are living restricted lives. The major catastrophe occurred on Margaret Thatcher’s watch when her Gov’t closed down the MRC lab in the UK, which left the UK entirely dependent on imports from the U.S. Thatcher’s Gov’t were told that this would put NHS patients at serious risk because U.S. blood products frequently originated from drug users or other groups with a high rate of blood borne infections. Thatcher’s Gov’t ploughed ahead nonetheless on the grounds that purchasing blood products from the U.S. would be a cheaper option. Scientific advisors have come forward to confirm that they knew about the risk and that they did tell the Dept of Health at the time. The Minister responsible at the time was Ken Clarke. He is denying that he was ever warned about the possibility of catastrophe. Both David Cameron and Theresa May have refused a public inquiry into the matter.

There is a further twist. Some scientists have claimed that they warned the Dept of Health back in the 70s of the dangers of using unscreened blood products – the danger then was perceived to be what is now termed Hepatitis C because no-one knew about HIV. Dr David Owen has been telling anyone who will listen that in 1976 he warned that Britain should be aiming to be self-sufficient in blood products. Yet Dr Death claims that the archived files that he kept concerning this matter have ‘disappeared’ and he suspects a Civil Service cover-up – and poor old Dr Death’s memory is a bit shaky and now he can’t remember the relevant details. Yet Anita Roddick’s daughter Sam has told the press that her mum contracted Hepatitis C (from which she died many years later) during a blood transfusion at the time of Sam’s birth – in 1970. So the NHS has been lethally infecting people for a long time.

Well I’m delighted to say that once more ‘Service Shenanigans’ can shed light where it seems that nobody else can. Although I have to fess up to gaining my information from none other but Ken Clarke, the Minister of State for Health in Thatcher’s Gov’t when the ‘advice’ from the scientists regarding the safety or otherwise of U.S. blood products was given. I have found this out from Ken Clarke’s autobiography ‘Kind of Blue’, which I am currently reading. Ken makes it quite clear. In chapter nine he states that the matter of blood products was ‘regarded as a small specialist area of activity and was handled by Simon Glenarthur, Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Lords. Simon behaved impeccably throughout the crisis but unfortunately he acted on the medical and scientific advice given to him which was not based on full knowledge of the dangers’. Ken tells us that there has now been a number of investigations and ‘Simon’s reputation has always emerged unscathed as he quite correctly acted conscientiously in the light of the scientific advice available to him’.

So the man responsible is Lord Simon Glenarthur. Now Ken is blaming it all on unidentified medical and scientific advisors to Simon. Which is seriously weird because those scientific advisors themselves maintain that they warned the DoH of the dangers. Glenarthur was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary in 1983. Dr Death in 1976 admitted that NHS patients were being put at risk. The world knew all about blood borne infections in 1983 – I was an undergrad then and I knew about them, so I’m absolutely sure that Simon’s medical and scientific advisors did. So either the medical and scientific advisors are telling porkies and they didn’t warn Simon, or Simon and/or Ken are telling porkies – or Simon ignored the advice and now won’t fess up.

Ken refers to Simon’s ‘unscathed’ reputation. How unscathed is Simon Glenarthur’s reputation? Well he ended up in a bit of bother in 2012, but blamed that on someone else as well. Since 2010 Simon Glenarthur has been a Governor and Trustee of King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes. Readers might remember that in 2012 when pregnant with Prince George, Princess Middleton suffered from very severe pregnancy-induced sickness and spent some time in King Edward VII Hospital. Whilst she was a patient there, two Australian shock-jocks rang the hospital pretending to be ringing from Buck House, imitated a corgi barking in the background and asked after Princess Middleton’s health. The nurse who took the call, Jacintha Saldanha, didn’t cotton on to what was happening and passed on some fairly benign information. The shock-jocks broadcast the call, a major diplomatic incident followed and Jacintha killed herself. At some point during all this, a pompous man stood outside of the hospital and faced the TV cameras. Next to the pompous man was another even more pompous man who remained silent but who glowered in an intimidating manner at the camera. The pompous man with the speaking part said ‘This is Lord Glenarthur. He is our Chairman’ and then read out a prepared statement. The message was clear – I’ve got a Lord with me and no-one is going to touch us for this.

Lord Glenarthur subsequently wrote a letter to the Australian radio station involved stating that it was ‘truly appalling’ that the call had been approved by the station’s management before broadcast. But there were a number of other truly appalling things as well. It was truly appalling that one of London’s allegedly most elite hospitals didn’t employ anyone to answer telephone calls and that this was left to the nurse on duty who was actually looking after Princess Middleton at the same time. How much did Princess Middleton pay for her care there I wonder? What is Simon Glenarthur’s remuneration as a Trustee and Governor? I note that when the hospital management wanted to intimidate everyone they referred to Simon as their Chairman, although that doesn’t appear on his wiki page. Is he still the Chairman? Indeed was he then, or was that a porkie? Other appalling things were revealed in the press following Jacintha’s suicide – that she was working very long hours for little pay; that she lived in Bristol and was commuting to London and was exhausted; that she was terrified of the hospital’s management. Then a news story appeared claiming that Jacintha had suffered from depression and had attempted suicide previously. Her family denied this. Nothing was ever clarified. One thing is fairly obvious though – that Lord and his mates were too busy covering their own arses to provide sufficient support and reassurance to Jacintha. And when she became so distressed that she killed herself, rather than address her working conditions Lord simply made it public that he’d given the radio station a bollocking.

For a man whose decision regarding blood products resulted in the death of thousands of people, Lord hasn’t done too badly for himself. Since 2002 he has been Director of the MDU (Medical Defence Union). That is the MDU that refused to compensate the victims of Ian Paterson, the rogue breast surgeon who was recently imprisoned for wounding hundreds of patients – after of course it failed to stop his criminal activity in the first place. It is also the MDU who provided Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) with free legal advice from Ann Ball, a solicitor from Hempsons and Sir Robert Francis QC, a barrister, in order to bring a court case against me, although they knew that Francis was perjuring himself and that he and his colleague Dr Dafydd Alun Jones were involved in criminal activity themselves (see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’).

But Lord has many strings to his bow. Here’s a resume:

Simon Glenarthur is one of 90 hereditary peers in the Lords. He sits as a Conservative. He went to Eton, then joined The Royal Hussars, then served in the Territorial Army. He was a Captain for British Airways Helicopters 1976-82; a Government Whip in 1982; appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health in 1983. After this he worked in the Home Office, he was then Minister of State for Scotland in 1986 and then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1987-89.

He was a Director of Aberdeen and Texas Corporate Finance Ltd 1977-82; a Director of ABTEX Computer Systems Ltd 1979-82; Senior Executive of Hanson plc 1989-96; Deputy Chair of Hanson Pacific Ltd 1994-98; a Director of Whirly Bird Services Ltd 1995-2004; Consultant for British Aerospace 1989-99; President of the National Council for Civil Protection 1991-03; Chair, British Helicopter Advisory Board 1992-2004 and President since 2004; a Director of the Lewis Group 1993-94; Consultant for Chevron UK Ltd 1994-97; a Director of Millennium Chemicals 1996-2004; Consultant for Imperial Tobacco 1996-98; Chair of the European Helicopter Association 1996-2003; Chair of the International Federation of the Helicopter Association 1997-2004; a Governor of Nuffield Hospitals since 2000; since 2002 Honorary Colonel of 306 Field Hospital; since 2004 Honorary Air Commodore of 612 Squadron, Royal Auxilliary Air Force; in 1992 he was made a Freeman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators; in 1996 he became a Liveryman; in 1978 he became a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Service and then became a Fellow in 1999; since 1992 he has been a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; since 1996 a Freeman of the City of London; Consultant to Audax Trading Ltd 2001-02 and a Director 2003-05; in 2001 he became a Commissioner of the Royal Chelsea Hospital; in 2005 a Director of Audax Global; since 1994 a Council Member of the Air League; a Member of the National Employers Liaison Committee for Her Majesty’s Reserve Forces 1996-02; in 2002 appointed Chair of the National Employer Advisory Board for Britain’s Reserve Forces. Simon is also a Lieutenant of the Royal Company of Archers.

That’s quite a CV for someone whose rash decision led to the deaths of 2000 people at an early point in his career. I’m not at all sure that he should be trusted with all those flying machines.

Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I've been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner - who also became a sociologist - as someone who had experienced 'considerable success'. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead - he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this 'successful man' was notorious - he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist...

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