Friday 10 August 2012
Things seem to have been very quiet on all the blogs for a few weeks now, so we thought it was time for an update on what’s been going on:
· Meeting with PM
A campaigner recently met with the Prime minister (also his MP), along with Aung San Suu Kyi and he did a great job of getting across to them the problems faced by the contaminated blood victims, especially those who did not benefit from the last Government review. He has since received a letter from Mr Cameron who is communicating with Anne Milton regarding the issues raised at the meeting. We await the outcome with interest. Several documents were handed over: the ‘Stories Behind the Statistics’ book, and the ‘Betrayal & Lies’ DVD to both the PM and Aung San Suu Kyi. We would like to thank this campaigner for arranging this meeting, and, in particular, for giving so many people the opportunity to contribute to it.
· Legal action re Government Green Paper (Justice & Security)
The legal action regarding the content of the Green Paper has come to a conclusion. After considerable to-ing and fro-ing, a settlement was reached which will serve to protect the position of haemophiliacs who have been infected with viruses such as HIV and HCV, or who have been exposed to vCJD–implicated clotting factors. The settlement means that in future we would have an open hearing of any future cases because any clauses concerning the widening out of Closed Material Procedures included in the new Justice and Security Bill will not apply to cases where the disclosure of information would not be detrimental to the interests of national security. And it goes without saying that ostensibly, one would not expect a case being brought by an infected haemophiliac to be of any kind of threat to the interests of national security!
· Update on Mark’s Letter-writing.
For some time now Mark Ward has been engaged in a series of letters between himself and the Metropolitan Police, the Equalities & Human Rights Commission and others, regarding possible criminal charges against Government individuals. He has been directed through various Government departments as they all contrive to pass the buck and avoid answering the challenging questions he is posing, but he is ploughing on with this and at the very least creating a paper trail to show how those in authority consistently refuse to deal with the truth. Mark’s latest reply is from the Metropolitan police and his work is ongoing.
Kate Running for TaintedBlood!
Kate Thomas is running the Cardiff half marathon on 14th October and is hoping to raise funds for TaintedBlood. We would like to thank Kate for doing this for us and hope she will gain lots of support, both in terms of sponsorship and on the day.
· World Haemophilia Congress2012
Joseph Peaty attended the World Haemophilia Congress 2012, which was held in Paris.
· Exploratory Legal action
The TB committee, along with members of Manor House Group and others are currently investigating ways in which we may progress the campaign through the legal route. This requires a substantial amount of research and communication and, as yet, is in the early stages. This will be an ongoing project and even though there may be no visible signs of activity please be assured that we are continuing this work. There will be more updates on this as and when things progress, but essentially we believe that if Government are not prepared to listen to us in order to bring proper closure then we will be forced to go through the courts.
· MacFarlane Trust Meeting
On 20th June, Sue, Mark and Richard, along with Andrew, attended the open meeting at the Macfarlane Trust regarding the unspent reserves. Unfortunately Joe, who was planning to go, was unable to attend owing to lack of disabled access but managed to contribute to the discussion when attending the Men Only weekend in Swindon. The meeting went well and the Trust appeared to be willing to listen to suggestions and opinions from the floor. One result from the meeting is that there are now positive moves forward to re-establish the Partnership Group in order to encourage and formalise better communication between the Trust and its registrants.
· Memorial for Lord Corbett
On 26th June Sue attended a memorial for Robin Corbett at the House of Lords. Formally Sue’s MP, Robin Corbett had been a staunch supporter of our campaign until shortly before his death in February. He will be very sadly missed and we felt it was an honour that Sue was invited in recognition of this. His work with the campaign was mentioned during the memorial and Lady Corbett gave an assurance that others will continue Robin’s work in this area and others.
· Lord Archer
We were all deeply saddened to hear about the recent death of Lord Archer of Sandwell who also did so much to support us, and of course chaired the Independent Inquiry. He was instrumental in bringing about the changes made by Government to the support mechanisms of those infected and affected. Our condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.
We are now looking towards the next few months, and highlighting areas and times where we feel we could highlight our issues. Here is a list of what we have come up with so far – please let us have any views or suggestions:
1: Penrose Inquiry
We are now focusing on, and working towards, the publication of Lord Penrose’s report which is expected to be published sometime next year. We will be bringing together all of our current efforts in order to ensure an appropriate response at the time and raise the profile of the Inquiry.
2: New meeting with Minister.
Some time ago Anne Milton agreed to a further meeting with campaigners and this has now been scheduled for some time in the Autumn. Those attending will include representatives from TB, MHG, CBC and the Haemophilia Society, along with Mr Charles Gore, CEO of the Hepatitis C Trust and members of the Government’s expert advisory panel. This is the panel that advised the government leading up to the last review and will be a great opportunity to show solidarity amongst the campaigners, to express our own views about the review and its outcome, and to listen to the views of the panel. We will update you as the opportunity arises
3: Also some time in the Autumn, the Haemophilia Society hopes to launch its policy on contaminated blood. As soon as this is confirmed we hope to plan some sort of event to coincide with the launch, both to support them and to highlight the cause.
4: Worlds Aids Day, December 1st. We are currently discussing ideas for an event to commemorate this important day.
5: 2013 marks the 30 year anniversary of the first recognised AIDS-related death in a UK haemophiliac, and we are currently exploring ways of marking this anniversary.
What can you do to help?
We are presently in the middle of the parliamentary summer recess. This means that most MPs will be in their constituency. We would ask that everyone makes an effort to go and see their own MP in his/her surgery and explain what has happened since the last Government review. It is pretty certain that all MPs will have been told that the review sorted everything out and we need to make it clear to as many as possible that it did not. Even if you benefitted from the review it is still important that MPs realise that over 80% did not, and that the campaign will go on until we have achieved justice for as many people as we possibly can. Tell them also that many widows are still struggling to prove entitlement to Skipton payments and that we feel the criteria for payments is wrong.
Remember: your personal story is one of the most powerful tools in the campaign. Please take this opportunity to use it.
Article submitted by Sue Threakall