Letter to New Health Secretary
Friday 14 September 2012
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt
Secretary of State for Health
Department of Health
September 10th 2012
Dear Mr Hunt,
I am writing on behalf of an organisation called TaintedBlood to welcome you into your new appointment and offer our congratulations. As you may already be aware, we are a group that campaigns and advocates on behalf of all those affected and infected by NHS contaminated blood and blood products.
As a lead campaign group, we recognise and appreciate the forward moves made by the Coalition government, but we believe that there is still further to go before this crisis can be considered resolved.
Since you previously showed a sympathetic response to the plight of haemophiliac constituents who have been adversely affected by the contaminated blood catastrophe, I am sure you will be keen to know that we are currently exploring appropriate legal avenues. In particular, we are keen to see a full judicially-empowered inquiry established and we would very much like this to take place under your time as Secretary of State.
Therefore, please may I take this opportunity to formally request an inquiry into the en masse contamination of persons with haemophilia in the United Kingdom and to specifically look at what might be the full array of potential contaminants, as well as the multiple viruses known to have ravaged our community. If you feel you must decline us this request, please may I ask that you provide us with new reasons that reflect your fresh pair of eyes coming into your new role.
I would also like to ask that you look again at the levels of payments awarded to our community. There is a commonly felt belief that the current payments are wholly inadequate. There is a need for more substantial payments for people infected and bereaved; something significant enough to remove their reliance on state benefits.
In order to reflect the current fiscal climate, consideration could be given to staggered payments. It should also be stressed that there will eventually be an end to the support required - once all infected and bereaved are dead. The size of our group is finite, and due to a mortality rate of around one a month, is ever decreasing. Ageing, coupled with deteriorating health of survivors is adding a new unaddressed dimension.
Many of us have campaigned for over twenty-five years now in order to achieve truth and justice, both for those still living and the 2,000 plus who have already died. We are determined to continue this fight until we achieve our aims, but are ever conscious that, as we fight those determined to brush us and our story under the political carpet, each month there will be yet another death from what was described by the late Lord Archer of Sandwell in his report as: ‘…a horrific human tragedy.’
We expect the upcoming inquiry report from Lord Penrose will further articulate just how horrific this catastrophic failure to protect human life has been and will lay bare the contribution made by the UK government to this tragedy.
You may be told that this matter does not warrant further attention; I would invite you to meet campaign representatives personally and hear directly the awful reality of their damaged lives and why you must resist such pressures. Please build on the recent positive engagement with our community to establish a mutually acceptable solution.
We fully appreciate that your workload will be very heavy as you start your new role but as mentioned earlier we have been campaigning for justice for more than two decades now and as each week goes by yet another of our survivors will succumb to the ravages of the contaminants the NHS exposed us to.
Once again, I welcome you into your new position as Secretary of State for Health, and I hope that in the very near future, you will do the right thing and alleviate the hardship our community continues to suffer.
p.p. Sue Threakall (Mrs)