The Prime Minister announced (July 2017) that an inquiry is to be held into the scandal which resulted in people who suffered from the blood clotting disorder, Haemophilia, being provided with contaminated blood during the 1970s and 1980s. The blood had been donated, or sold, by people who had contracted HIV and Hepatitis C.
Tainted Blood, a group which has campaigned for decades for recognition of this issue states that 4,800 haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C, a virus that causes liver damage and can be fatal. A quarter of those were also infected with HIV, a virus which can cause Aids and half have unfortunately now died.
Many of those affected, and their families, believe they were not made aware of any risks and that there has been a subsequent cover-up. Families of victims who have since passed away will be consulted about what form the inquiry should take and it could either be similar to the Hillsbourgh inquiry which was public, or may be a judge-led statutory inquiry.
The new inquiry is expected to extend to Scotland where a similar inquiry was previously conducted looking at the issue from 1974 to 1991, the Penrose Inquiry. However, victims and their families were left disappointed following this inquiry which they branded "a waste of time and money" It cost in excess of £11.3 million and took six years to complete, then made one recommendation and was reluctant to apportion blame, concluding that "nothing more could have been done to prevent the transmission of HIV" which angered those involved.
According to the BBC, Sir Peter Bottomley, co-chairman of the cross-party parliamentary group on haemophilia and contaminated blood, said the success of the inquiry would depend on it being able to get hold of sensitive information from pharmaceutical companies and government.
There have already been compensation pay outs to some victims and a fund was set up to help support survivors.
If the new inquiry finds culpability, victims will have the opportunity to seek damages through the courts. If you have been a victim in relation to the contaminated blood scandal, you can contact one of our specialist solicitors to discuss the matter.