- An expert commissioned by the government to investigate
the risk of hospital patients developing CJD - the human form of mad cow
disease - from contaminated instruments claims he was ordered to suppress
his findings, write David Cracknell and Lois Rogers.
- David Hurrell, a former senior government microbiologist
who now runs an independent consultancy, was told to keep secret the "somewhat
negative outcome" of his investigations.
- Hospitals routinely reuse instruments to save money.
- The poor standard of hospital surgical decontamination
that Hurrell uncovered is the subject of a BBC Panorama programme broadcast
tonight. Hurrell told the programme he was shocked and disgusted by the
government attitude. He described sterilisation procedures at most hospitals
as "barely adequate".
- He had expected his report to be published last year.
Instead, Hurrell received a letter from Katie Priestley, chief executive
of NHS Estates, warning: "In the light of the somewhat negative outcome,
there is a need to ensure at the express request of ministers that the
reports remain strictly confidential."
- John Collinge, director of the prion research unit at
Imperial College, London, found in a study to be published this week that
a metal instrument had to be in contact with infected tissue for just five
minutes to become contaminated.