May 20, 2009 12:00 AM

Today, the Government officially responded to the Archer report into how thousands of haemophiliacs were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C through contaminated NHS blood published on 14th March, 2009.

The Department of Health also released some 482 additional documents relating to the affair.

However, in answer to a Parliamentary Question from Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, on February 10th, the Department said that only 35 documents hadn't been released to the inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act.

On 20th April, 27 of these were released leaving only 8 documents withheld under the FoI Act.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"The Government's response is shameful and underlines their appalling and cynical behaviour over this issue.

"The Department refused to release all the relevant documents to the inquiry and failed to send anyone to give evidence. But now long after the inquiry has concluded, they suddenly release nearly 500 more documents on the issue which they claim they've only just discovered.

"Either the Department is utterly incompetent, or it is deliberately trying to undermine all efforts to uncover the truth behind this health disaster.

"The increased compensation for patients who contracted HIV is welcome, but they have completely ignored the 2,500 patients who still suffer from Hepatitis C infections, and the widows of those who have died from it.

"The refusal to establish a National Haemophilia Committee is absurd. Only a proper statutory committee will ensure that the needs and concerns of haemophiliacs guide future blood policy and prevent this sort of disaster ever happening again.

"This is one of the most serious tragedies in the history of the NHS. It has been ongoing for more than 20 years and more than 2,500 people have died of the infections they received through no fault of their own.

"But by publishing this report two days before recess, the Government is once again trying to stifle debate on this issue, and prevent the victims from having their voices heard."

What would you like to do next?