Victims of the contaminated blood scandal welcome start of inquiry
The long awaited public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal is due to begin next week. The initial part of the inquiry will be held over three days from Monday 24th September at Church House, Westminster.
Posted on 21 September 2018
The Infected Blood Inquiry will cover the contaminated blood scandal which is believed to have killed over 2000 people after they were given contaminated blood and/or blood products by the NHS.
The public inquiry will look into how many thousands of NHS patients were provided with the contaminated blood and/or blood products by the NHS, some of which was imported from abroad.
Those infected by the contaminated blood and/or blood products contracted one or both of the blood-borne viruses, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
The Department of Health has previously stated that published data and scientific studies have estimated that around 28,000 people that needed blood transfusions (following, for example, road traffic accidents, birth complications or dental treatment) and around 4,700 people with bleeding disorders (such as haemophilia) were exposed to or were infected with HCV in the UK.
Emma Jones, partner in Leigh Day’s Human Rights department, is representing over 240 clients at the inquiry. She has been working with those affected by contaminated blood for around two years and her group of clients include both those who received infected blood through transfusions and haemophiliacs. Emma is also representing around 290 individuals in an Equality Act / back payment claim in relation to allegedly discriminatory discretionary payments.
Emma said: "It is vital that the Inquiry is robust enough to ensure that all of the issues are investigated no matter how divisive. Our clients want to get to the truth and they want answers. The Inquiry must be open and transparent in order to ensure victims are able to trust in the process."
Gene Matthews, partner in Leigh Day’s Consumer Law and Product Safety team is exploring a separate group negligence claim for compensation against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for those affected by the scandal.
Gene added: "Our clients have been campaigning for many years to obtain answers to their questions, the most burning question being how could contaminated blood have been given to so many NHS patients? At last, we hope that the Inquiry will conduct a thorough and meaningful assessment of all of the evidence and provide the answers that our clients so desperately need. Our clients hope that the Inquiry lives up to the expectation created by its terms of reference. We will be taking steps to ensure that the surviving victims, and their families, are able to move forward with their lives and we expect the Secretary of State to do everything within his power to facilitate this."