A doctor appointed as chief medical officer for blood disorders at the Health Ministry had no training for the job, he told an inquiry into infected blood
- A doctor appointed as chief medical officer has received no training for the role
- Dr. Andrzej Rejman was SMO from 1989 to 1997 at the Ministry of Health
- The Infected Blood Survey examines how patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s
A doctor who was appointed chief medical officer in charge of blood disorders at the Department of Health has received no training for the role, an investigation has found.
Dr. Andrzej Rejman served as Chief Medical Officer (SMO) from March 1989 to July 1997.
The Infected Blood Inquiry examines how thousands of patients became infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.
Around 2,400 people have died in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.
The inquiry into the infected blood is being led by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff after two previous inquiries were branded whitewashed by campaigners.
Dr Andrzej Rejman (pictured) was Chief Medical Officer (SMO) from March 1989 to July 1997
Dr Rejman told the inquest that the people were ‘friendly’ and if he wanted to know something he just had to ask.
He added that there was “no backstabbing” and people were “helpful”.
Many infected products were imported from foreign countries, such as the United States, after the United Kingdom failed to meet demand from patients, especially those with haemophilia.
On Tuesday, lead solicitor Jenni Richards QC asked Dr Rejman: ‘What training, if any, did you receive taking on your role as SMO?
He replied, “Zero.
Ms Richards then asked if it was about being ‘thrown deep and expected to continue the job’.
Dr Rejman replied: “People in the department were friendly to each other. There were generally no stabs in the back.
He said the chief medical officer, to whom he reports, greeted him and said “if you have any problems, my door is there”.
Dr Rejman added: ‘People have been helpful. If I wanted to know something, I could ask them, whether it was a doctor or an administrator.
Dr Rejman, who worked as a senior registrar and honorary hematology consultant, was asked if he remembered meetings he attended with the health secretary to discuss the HIV litigation.
He said the minutes of the meetings should be checked and that it is “very likely” that he did, but would be “very low in the scale” and “an add-on”.
The inquiry into the infected blood is being led by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff (pictured) after two previous inquiries were branded whitewashed by campaigners
Dr Rejman said the “important people” the secretary of state could speak to would be the permanent secretary, possibly the CMO, attorneys and assistant secretaries who had day-to-day experience of what was going on.
Dr. Rejman was asked if the Department of Health suggested holding a public inquiry into the events that led to the mass infection of people with HIV and Hepatitis C during his employment there.
He said the concept of an inquiry or a commission had been raised, but he believed no action had been taken.
Dr Rejman said it could be mentioned as a possibility in a submission, but “nothing ever came back”.
He added: “I felt like no one in the department was pushing for this, or anyone at a high enough level to make this happen.”