Mr Ian Blenkharn

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Qualifications: (Hover)
CSci; CBiol; CWM

Single Joint Expert

Type of Cases:
Civil, Criminal, Prof.Neg (D,Cl.), Publicly Funded

Approx 10/ year

Organisations: (Click for website)

Court Appearances
Approx. 2/ year

Expert Witness Categories: Abscesses, Antibiotics, Bacteria, Biliary, Care & Equipment, Environment, Environmental Impact Assessment, Food Poisoning, Gall Bladder, Hazardous Waste, Hygiene, Incinerators, Infections, Laboratory Practice, Legionnaires Disease, Microbiology, Occupational Health & Safety, Recycling, Sharps Injuries, Waste Management

I am a healthcare, occupational, and environmental microbiologist with an extensive career background in the NHS and university medical schools. A long-standing, now full-time, private practice focusses on aspects of microbiology; infection and its prevention; hospital and community hygiene and infection control; post-surgical sepsis; device-related infection; and aspects of occupational and environmental hygiene and infection prevention.

A long-standing practical and academic interest in clinical wastes and their management has involved substantial involvement with sharps injury in the healthcare and wastes sectors, and in the management of healthcare (clinical) wastes, from bedside to final destruction, including additionally waste segregation, policy and regulation, licensing, treatment processes and monitoring, recycling options, bio-safety and worker/site hygiene.

Until its dissolution in Q1 2009 I was an Adviser to the Healthcare Commission, dealing in particular with complaints involving matters of infection, hygiene and microbiology. Presently, I am a specialist adviser to The Care Quality Commission.

I am Founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Hospital Environment & Hygiene Management. I sit on the Editorial Board of The Biologist, and have previously sat of the Boards of The Journal of Infection Prevention (formerly British Journal of Infection Control), The Open Waste Management Journal, The Journal of Electronic Health and The International Journal of Engineering, Science and Technology. For over three decades, I have been a regular reviewer for many medical and scientific journals.


With an extensive practice in medico-legal and related matters, I have a strong science-based research record in aspects of healthcare, environmental and occupational microbiology, and a background in NHS and University Medical School laboratory science with more than 30 years post-qualification experience.

I am a Fellow of the Society of Biology, of the Royal Society for Public Health, and of the Institute of Biomedical Science. I am a member of the Healthcare Infection Society (formerly the Hospital Infection Society) and of the Infection Prevention Society, a Chartered Biologist, a Chartered Scientist, a Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, and a Chartered Waste Manager.

I have a strong science-based research record in aspects of environmental and healthcare microbiology. This includes a broad portfolio of research publications in the medical and scientific literature. I teach regularly, in the UK and overseas.

I have particular research interests in hospital and environmental/occupational microbiology, healthcare waste management, surgical sepsis and the control of hospital infection, healthcare and occupational/industrial hygiene and bio-safety. This practice extends to include aspects of clinical waste management & control, environmental & healthcare microbiology, air quality monitoring & clean room control, hospital, community & environmental hygiene and infection control & control, safety evaluation, audit and risk assessment.

Experienced in Public Inquiry, planning and licensing and their respective appeals, I have undertaken many case investigations for the Healthcare Commission focussing on matters of healthcare-acquired infection and hygiene breaches, with many similar investigations initiated through legal instruction.

Expert Witness:

I have a long and successful track record of legal and consultancy work, from briefings and technical or medico-legal assessments and reports, Expert Witness and related appearances in the Crown and Country Courts, the High Court, Coroners Court, and Public Inquiry, in matters of infection, and of bio-hazardous waste-related planning application and appeal hearings, and waste (licensing) permitting applications and appeals.

I have more than 25 years experience in the preparation of Expert Witness reports and briefings.
Instructions are commensurate with my experience and knowledge and relate to matters of microbiology, in particular:

◦ microbiology
◦ infection prevention and control
◦ post-surgical and device-related infections
◦ healthcare-associated infection
◦ laboratory diagnosis
◦ antibiotic and chemotherapy
◦ sharps injury
◦ clinical and other biohazardous waste management
◦ related environmental and occupational microbiology
◦ biosafety

I have experience in both medical negligence/malpractice cases and in more complex and extensive commercial (occupational) cases, and with some additional experience in criminal cases. I am considerable experience in Meetings of Experts, briefings & case conferences etc. Supporting these activities, I have much expertise in the preparation of press reports and briefings, and in presentations to public and lay pressure groups.

I have received formal Expert Witness training first as part of the Imperial College Professional Development Programme, before the Recorder of London, on it’s Acting as an Expert Witness course. Additionally, I hold the Bond Solon/Cardiff University Law School Expert Witness Certificate (civil law).

Recent keynote and high value cases include:

•Powertrain Group Litigation (2010)
Group litigation on behalf of former employees of Powertrain at the Longbridge car plant, Birmingham who claimed damages for respiratory disease caused by exposure to contaminated coolant oil. The Defendants were their employers Powertrain and Houghton PLC who supplied the coolant oils and managed them on site during the material period. Critical failings were identified in the approach to management of metal working fluid hygiene and methods of screening for bacterial and fungal contaminants.

•Secretary of State for Justice / HMP Long Lartin (2013)
Group litigation alleging unacceptable and unsafe restrictions in the supply of safe water supplies, and deficiencies in access to hygiene facilities, for prisoners housed in a prison segregation unit.

•Clostridium difficile infection in a hospital cleaner (2013)
Were training, supervision, PPE provision, and standards of toilet cleaning sufficient to protect a hospital cleaner from occupationally acquired infection?

•Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection after high ear piercing (2014)
Questioning the lack of formal guidance and the poor quality advice following EHO inspections, the source of infection was tracked to contamination of potable water and gaps in the spectrum of activity of the chosen disinfectant product

Professional and regulatory affairs:

I sit on the Fitness to Practice panel of the Health and Care Professions Council, and as Vice Chair of the Society of Biology Professional Registers panel.

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Address: Blenkharn Environmental, 18 South Road, Ealing, London W5 4RY
email: Use the form below. Tel: 020 8569 8316 Fax: 020 8847 5994

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Blenkharn Environmental, 18 South Road, Ealing, London W5 4RY
51.4974707, -0.30327620000002753
020 8569 8316