Mr Stevens answered questions regarding applications made to the Macfarlane Trust for household items. Mr Stevens stated that if these types of applications were supported by a clinician’s opinion then they were more likely to be accepted.
Ms Richards QC asked questions regarding the grants and loans provided by the Macfarlane Trust. Mr Stevens explained how the Macfarlane Trust offered assistance by paying off store card debts and long-term loans. Some long-term loans were paid off by the Trust if it was thought the debt would not be paid off. Some loans provided by the Trust were secured against the beneficiary’s homes.
The Inquiry then turned its attention to the support the Macfarlane Trust provided to children. Mr Stevens said that support for children was offered on a case-by-case basis. However, once a child left full time education that support was no longer available to them. Mr Stevens stated that parents who had lost children because of contaminated blood were entitled to payments under the normal rules of Macfarlane.
Ms Richards QC then discussed decision making at the trust. Mr Stevens explained that some beneficiaries were trustees of Macfarlane and these individuals were referred to as ‘User Trustees’. User Trustees were nominated by the Haemophilia Society and Mr Stevens alluded to the fact that some of these Trustees were more helpful than others.
The Inquiry then heard evidence from Mr Stevens regarding assisted conception and the Macfarlane Trusts’ stance on this. He told the Inquiry that in the Trust 1999 review they drew up a policy regarding assisted conception. It was decided by the Trustees that they would pay for beneficiaries’ expenses back and forth to appointments but not for the treatment itself.
Mr Stevens was asked questions regarding the late Haydn Lewis. Mr Stevens made derogatory comments about Mr Lewis in a series of emails with another trustee. Ms Richards QC asked why these comments were made, Mr Stevens said that he didn’t know and believed they were made out of frustration. He also added that the emails had been leaked after someone hacked into the Macfarlane Trust’s server. After the emails were leaked, Mr Stevens travelled to Cardiff to apologise to Haydn.
Moving from the Macfarlane Trust, Mr Stevens was asked about his involvement with the Skipton Fund. Ms Richards QC asked Mr Stevens why he did not give evidence to the Archer Inquiry during his time as chair of the Skipton Fund. He explained that if he were to have given evidence to the Archer Inquiry then he would’ve been in breach of his agreement with the government. The Inquiry were then shown a copy of the agency agreement between Mr Stevens and the fund. The agency agreement set out that trustees of the Skipton Fund could not discuss the mechanics of the fund with anyone bar the Department of Health.
The Inquiry heard how Skipton Fund applications were considered. Mr Stevens said applications were first processed by the administrators of the fund and were then passed to trustees for signing off. Any applications that referenced intravenous drug use were immediately disregarded. Mr Stevens told the Inquiry that one of the Skipton Fund directors had been producing fraudulent applications which led to the scheme losing over £3 million in misappropriated funds. After this event Mr Stevens said the application process became more stringent.
Concluding his evidence, Ms Richards QC asked questions regarding Mr Stevens involvement with the Caxton Fund. The Inquiry heard that Mr Stevens was the founding trustee of the Caxton Fund and became its Chair in 2011. The purpose of the Caxton fund was to provide financial support with bills for individuals and their families. Ms Richards QC asked if the fund ever considered providing support to those with hepatitis B. Mr Stevens confirmed this had not been a consideration of the Caxton Fund.