DHSC Responds to Dr Glover’s PAC Evidence

In its much awaited response to the Public Accounts Committee’s recent session with Dr Glover the DHSC has accused Dr Rachel Glover of breaching an agreement between her company and the department.

Health Minister David Ashford had promised his staff were working on a ‘point by point rebuttal’ of Dr Glover’s evidence, something this press release falls far short of doing.

The DHSC’s statement said it was ‘disappointed that Taxa Genomics, particularly as an on island provider, did not feel able to respond to the required DHSC governance arrangements’. And it goes onto to claim that Taxa ‘took the decision to withdraw all potential services including failing to supply reagent consumables (resources for use in the lab) in breach of an agreement it had entered into with the department’.

Dr Glover gave over three hours of evidence to PAC. Summaries of her evidence, including her relationship with DHSC , her explanation of how to use genetic testing during a pandemic and wider issues on the island’s testing regime can be found on our website, alternatively the full three hour sitting can be found here.

The department said it ‘continues to express interest in Dr Glover’s expertise in biomedical science and ability to translate a complex field into a simple message for all to understand’ and ‘values all technical and peer-reviewed evidence in supporting the Council of Ministers’ pandemic response plans’

Government Structures

The department says that Dr Glover was ‘invited to become part of the DHSC’s governance structures last year by its medical director and relevant clinical director, but Dr Glover’s decision to reset her relationship with the department meant this was not possible’.

The statement said: ‘Biomedical scientist support has nevertheless continued to be provided to DHSC professionals on island, via the UK national network and directly through an extensive laboratory team in Liverpool. 

‘The DHSC has on a number of occasions expressed its thanks to Dr Glover for her work and support in the set-up of COVID testing during 2020. Her contribution alongside many others in the Isle of Man is evidence that the management of the pandemic has been, and continues to be, a team effort from across the community. The department will always be grateful and immensely proud of all those who have contributed many hours over a long period of time.’

Public Accounts Committee

As well as responding to Dr Glover’s evidence, the DHSC has said it has begun the process of sharing relevant data with PAC and ‘looks forward to attending a session in the coming months in order to represent its professional position in these matters’.

It added: ‘In this respect, the DHSC will correct the position presented regarding intellectual property rights and confirm that alternative arrangements were already in place as part of its provider resilience planning. This approach is consistent with the principles around single supplier relationships for critical clinical services, and is also a consideration in relation to the wider requirements for longer-term genomic sequencing which were under consideration. Following instruction of advocates by Taxa and Dr Glover to open correspondence with the department, a detailed review of the position was undertaken. The pathology laboratory in DHSC confirmed that any previous documentation/codes were no longer in use at that agreed point as they were no longer needed, and a detailed timeline of this will be provided to the PAC.’

Minister David Ashford added: ‘I would like to express ongoing thanks to our small pathology lab team at Noble’s Hospital who continue to provide a comprehensive service which would be the envy of many hospital teams across other health care systems. The team’s continued resilience in supporting our extensive COVID testing programme has been phenomenal, recently celebrating a major milestone in undertaking over 24,000 tests in the first three months of 2021 – compared to around 21,000 tests in total in 2020. They have my full support in continuing to provide a plethora of on-island services for our residents. Their continued investment in further expertise is a credit to our health and care system.’

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