Public Inquiry gives new hope to HIV & Hep C infected Haemophiliacs

2007 Chwefror 19 12:00 AM

Today Lord Archer of Sandwell announced that he will head a full independent public inquiry into the case of how haemophiliacs became infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from contaminated NHS blood products in the 70s and 80s.

Commenting , Jenny Willott MP, whose Early Day Motion calling for a public inquiry on the affair has 104 MPs signatures, said:

"This is fantastic news. Haemophiliacs, who were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from NHS blood products, have had to put up and shut up for over 20 years. Many of them have died over this period leaving behind devastated friends and families.

"Successive Labour & Tory Governments have treated the haemophiliac community appallingly by repeatedly refusing to hold a public inquiry into the affair, rejecting calls for compensation and withholding key documents and information around the case.

"The Department of Health accidentally lost or destroyed a number documents relating to this affair and have been incredibly obstructive in the past. Now that many of these documents have resurfaced, there is genuine chance that the truth will finally be known.

"My main concern is whether or not the Department of Health will be forthcoming with relevant information and evidence. It is high time that the thousands affected by this painful issue are given closure, once and for all and I will be writing to Patricia Hewitt to ask her to guarantee her Department's full and unequivocal cooperation during the inquiry."

Below is the text of the EDM Jenny tabled:

That this House notes that 4,800 British haemophiliacs and many others were infected with hepatitis C through their NHS treatment, with 1,200 of those also infected with HIV; further notes that over 800 people have already died from AIDS with hundreds more having died from hepatitis C; further notes the destruction in the late 1980s and early 1990s of many documents relating to this issue that were being held by the Department of Health and that could have aided the Self-Sufficiency in Blood Products report into this affair in early 2006; is pleased that many of these documents have been discovered since by Blackett, Heart and Pratt Solicitors and have now been returned to the Department of Health for independent legal examination; further notes that a number of boxes of relevant documents have also been discovered since by the Department of Health; is concerned that these have not yet been assigned for independent legal examination; supports the Tainted Blood Campaign; believes that with the discovery of these documents there is now an ideal opportunity to get to the bottom of this issue by launching a full, independent public inquiry into contaminated blood products and to provide an official explanation to those who have fallen victim directly or indirectly to HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products; and therefore urges the Government to respond positively to this campaign so that, after 20 years, justice can be done finally.

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