In matters relating to microbiology, infection, hygiene, biosafety, and clinical waste/sharps management, Ian Blenkharn has a long and successful track record of legal and commercial work.
Spanning healthcare, occupational and environmental matters, this includes briefings and technical or medico-legal assessments and reports, Expert Witness and related appearances in the Crown and Country Courts, the High Court and Coroners Court, and in Courts overseas. Additional activities include bio-hazardous waste-related planning application and appeal hearings, and waste (licensing) permitting applications and appeals.
Ian receives many instructions for investigations and reporting on cases involving principally alleged medical malpractice, healthcare-associated infection, food safety, community, domestic and occupational hygiene and biosafety, and community sharps injury. He enjoys an international practice as an Expert Witness, working through different regulatory and legislative regimens and via an interpreter.
He has around 30 years experience in the preparation of Expert Witness reports and briefings, including work in the County, Crown and High Court, and in the Coroner’s Court.
Instructions are commensurate with my experience and knowledge and relate to matters of microbiology, in particular:
- microbiology; hygiene; infection prevention and control
- infection, including in particular post-surgical and device-related infections
- healthcare-associated infection
- laboratory diagnostics
- antibiotics and chemotherapy
- sharps injury
- clinical and other biohazardous waste management
- related environmental and occupational microbiology
- occupational infections
Ian has experience in both medical negligence/malpractice cases and in more complex and extensive commercial (occupational) cases, and in criminal cases. He additionally has experience in Planning and Licensing (Waste Permitting) applications and appeals, in Public Inquiry, and in Arbitrations. He has appeared as an Expert Witness in several cases outside the UK.
Reports are timely and detailed but concise, with a short and balanced review of the appropriate medical and scientific literature where appropriate.
Supporting these activities, Ian has much expertise in the preparation of press reports and briefings, and in presentations to public and lay pressure groups.
Ian continues to act in a range of civil and criminal cases. He has much experience of Court and Public Inquiry, planning applications and appeals, permitting and licensing etc, including experience in Meetings of Experts.
He received formal training as part of the Imperial College Professional Development Programme before the Recorder of London on its Acting as an Expert Witness course.
He holds the Bond Solon/Cardiff University Law School Expert Witness Certificate (civil law). Additionally, he attended in June 2013 the Bond Solon ‘Hot Tubbing’ (Concurrent Expert Evidence) training day. Ian maintains an extensive CPD program.
He is a registered APIL Expert, and additionally registered with the following Expert Witness and Consultants organisations:
In 2016, Ian received the annual Lawyer-Monthly magazine Expert Witness (Environmental and Healthcare Microbiology) award.
Ian is a member of the Healthcare Infection Society, the Infection Prevention Society, the British Infection Association, the International Society for Infectious Diseases, The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), and the Microbiology Society.
Blenkharn Environmental is fully register and compliant with the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The Care Quality Commission and The Healthcare Commission
Ian held an appointment, from 2006 until its dissolution in 2009, as an Adviser to the Healthcare Commission. In this role, he reviewed, investigated and advised on complex cases concerning issues of infection, infection prevention and control, post-surgical sepsis, antibiotic prophylaxis errors, diagnostics and the predictable ‘superbug’ infections caused by Clostridium difficile (C diff), methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other problem organisms.
Ian has additionally investigated, for the Healthcare Commission, many individual and more extensive cases involving communication failure in the healthcare environment, and the relationship between management obligations to government healthcare policy and delivery targets in circumstances where these have been the root cause of failure in the delivery of safe care. More general advice to the Healthcare Commission had embraced issues of policy and process, staffing levels and continuity care, and patient expectation.
Presently, Ian holds an appointment as Clinical and Professional Advisor to The Care Quality Commission.
Professional and regulatory affairs
Ian sits as Vice Chair of the Professional Registers panel of the Society of Biology.
He is a Specialist and Professional Adviser to the Care Quality Commission. Previously, he has sat on the Fitness to Practise panels of the Health and Care Professions Council.
Product design, assessment and evaluation services are provided, together with technical support for a range of service industry applications. These latter include technical and performance assessment, routine biosafety and performance monitoring, the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and staff training etc.
Commercial briefings are based on a wide experience in the healthcare, university and commercial (manufacturing and service) sectors, both at home and abroad. Services include technical assessments and product design and development, proof or process testing, performance testing and formal trials or assessment. This can include product or market appraisals as well as less formal assessments and briefings.
Specialist areas of expertise include:
clinical waste management
occupational and industrial biohazards
infection prevention and control
medical and diagnostic devices
Ian has developed a successful approach to product refinement and placement that entails close involvement of the customer team. By creating this improved opportunity for product placement which entails a formal research-quality trial or assessment to maximise client involvement during the initial period of the new product uptake cycle, this creates a path to enthusiastic customer response, integrating extensive training and supervision opportunities with opportunities for any necessary problem solving to facilitate successful adoption of a new product.
This approach creates the additional benefit of a relevant journal publication or presentation of results at a suitable conference etc to secure long-term product uptake and retention while maximizing advertising and related opportunities.
Ian has particular experience in training and education and offers services to train workers and supervisors in the waste management, engineering and care sectors, in matters of hygiene and infection prevention.
Training can range from an occasional ‘toolbox talk’ to more formal training sessions that if required can include some simulated practical applications and examples.
This training can be enhanced and supported for organisations by the preparation of SOPs and supervisor checklists etc.
For advice and enquiries, please contact Ian Blenkharn