21 July 2014
BBC News Manchester
Claims that human tissue samples from a leading cancer hospital were sold to drugs companies without patients’ knowledge, are to be investigated.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) said it will investigate allegations about The Christie Hospital in Manchester raised by MP Rosie Cooper.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has denied the claims.
It is also to be examined by two other health watchdogs after whistleblowers’ allegations about poor leadership.
Monitor, which scrutinises NHS trust leadership, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will visit The Christie within two weeks.
Dr Chris Birkett, Head of Regulation at the HTA said: “Following concerns raised by Rosie Cooper MP, the Human Tissue Authority – the watchdog for tissue and organs – is looking into allegations that tissue samples were sold by an NHS trust to pharmaceutical companies, without the knowledge of the patients concerned.”
Ms Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire, said: “If that is true it is outrageous.”
Following her written question in the House of Commons, she said: “We can’t get the full statements around that because the employee concerned has signed a gagging clause.”
A Christie statement said: “The Christie does not sell human tissue samples to pharmaceutical companies.
“Neither would the trust carry out any activity relating to patients without their consent.”
Monitor and CQC representatives will make unannounced visits to the hospital speaking to staff at all levels and looking into some issues raised by the whistleblowers about the organisation’s culture and how it is led.
A Christie spokesman said neither Monitor nor CQC had expressed any concerns about the quality of care at the hospital.
He added: “This visit is not an investigation or an inspection, and has been prompted by concerns raised about the process of whistleblowing at the trust to Monitor and CQC.”