Infected Blood Inquiry

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Inquiry into Contaminated Blood

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All you need to know about the Contaminated Blood Scandal is here... please read as much as you can.

Background

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, 4,800 British haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C through their NHS treatment. 1,200+ of those people were also infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.

Of those 1,200, more than 800 people have already died. Hundreds more have died from Hepatitis C.

170 non-haemophiliacs were also infected with HIV and countless infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated blood and tissue transfusions.

It is estimated that in total, more than 2,500 people have so far died as a direct result of their infections.

People are still dying.

Until July 2017, the British Government had steadfastly refused to hold a public inquiry into this tragedy. Against overwhelming evidence, no fault has ever been admitted by either Government or the pharmaceutical companies who supplied the contaminated blood products. Those living with these horrendous infections, those loved ones who have themselves become infected through victims of this disaster, and the families of those who have died, still have no answers.

In July 2017, Theresa May announced that finally, after decades of refusal and fighting by victims and their families, there would be a public inquiry into contaminated blood. The Infected Blood Inquiry, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, is currently ongoing.

This site is dedicated to the continuing fight for justice.

More background

Haemophilia is a genetic condition, most often hereditary, although in many cases the genetic abnormality occurs spontaneously. People with haemophilia lack, to varying degrees, the ability to clot their blood, which can result in internal bleeding into joints and muscles, and in more dangerous cases, into internal organs. This can result in severe pain and be quite debilitating, and sometimes more seriously it can result in organ damage and even death. Treatment for the conditon has historically included bed-rest, cooling the affected area, and latterly the replacement of the missing 'clotting factor' using donor blood products, such as plasma and cryoprecipitate.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, haemophiliacs began using a revolutionary new product to treat their condition. 'Factor concentrates' were heralded as the way forward in haemophilia treatment, and profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies wasted little time in harvesting blood from the cheapest possible sources in order to make as much of the product as they could.

As haemophiliacs began using the products, it soon became apparent that something was wrong. People began dying. In their haste to push out as much factor VIII and IX as possible, the pharmaceutical companies had been sourcing donor blood from extremely dubious places. People known to be habitual drug users or those participating in homosexual activities, prostitutes, and other people with infectious diseases such as HIV and various strains of Hepatitis were routinely allowed, and in many cases paid, to give blood (see Kelly Duda's excellent film "Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal" http://www.factor8movie.com/ and WorldNetDaily's articles here and here). The companies themselves would then pool the plasma together with hundreds of other donations, thus contaminating many thousands of units of factor concentrate. This product was then shipped around the world and given to thousands of haemophiliacs.

In Britain, more than 4,800 haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C, and 1,200 of those with HIV. Many have already died from their infections. In the case of those given HIV, only 200 or so people are still alive.

Yet still the tragedy deepens, as the legacy of this disaster means that many spouses, partners and loved ones of those infected through blood have themselves become infected... many because people were not told that they had been infected until years after infection took place.

In 1991, under threat of court action for allowing knowingly contaminated blood products into the country, the British Government made ex-gratia payments to those infected with HIV, at an average of £60,000, upon the condition that haemophiliacs would sign an undertaking not to sue the Government for any future infection through their treatments. The so called 'compassionate payments' were made in respect of the projected life span of sufferers of three to five years, and were forced upon patients who were told that "if you don't drop the legal action and accept this money, no-one will get anything... people are dying, they need it". Shortly afterwards, it emerged that those same people were also infected with Hepatitis C, and that this information had been withheld from them until they had signed the undertaking. Many people did not find out about either infection until years after they occurred.

The Goverment and the pharmaceutical companies were banking upon none of their victims remaining alive long enough to fight for justice. The Government, for more than three decades, refused to hold a public inquiry into the events surrounding almost 2,500 deaths (so far). Only following the 2017 snap election where Theresa May's Government lost its majority in Parliament, combined with growing support for the campaign built over decades, was the Infected Blood Inquiry announced.

Our aims

This tragedy, dubbed by Lords Robert Winston and Alf Morris as "...the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS...", has killed, widowed and destroyed the lives of thousands.

The survivors and their families, members of Tainted Blood have called for and finally been granted:

  • A full public inquiry, to be held under the Inquiries Act 2005, to fully investigate the events that led to thousands of British haemophiliacs and others with bleeding disorders, becoming superinfected with a multitude of viruses and pathogens over many years.
    The scope of the inquiry to include establishing the events and actions that caused or contributed to the catastrophic failure to provide safe NHS therapy and to review whether the support available is appropriate and effective in meeting the resultant needs of all those affected and counteracts any disadvantage imposed upon them.

We are still campaigning to achieve:

  • Full compensation for haemophiliacs, others with and without bleeding disorders who were infected, and for their families. This to be awarded in such a way that closure can be achieved for the majority of those affected and infected, including the widows and dependents of those who have died.
  • A full and comprehensive acknowledgement by the Prime Minister of what happened to the haemophiliacs and the inadequate government response. This to include a full public apology by the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons.
  • Lessons to be learnt from what happened to the haemophiliacs, and measures put in place to protect the patients of the future.  These measures to cover the safety of the nation’s blood supply, along with other measures to address mistakes identified – for example missed warnings, not passing on test results to patients, procedural errors and non-consensual testing.

We also aim to:

  • Offer on-going help and support to all those who have contracted viruses through the whole blood method, in order to achieve appropriate compensation.
  • Encourage and promote any government look-back exercise to identify all those who may have been affected. We support any government initiative with the purpose of efficient screening of blood, testing suspected victims, obtaining counselling for those infected and enabling them to apply for financial help.

For over thirty years, our pleas for truth and justice have been met with a series of inadequate, derisory, ex-gratia payments.  Requests for a Public Inquiry have been met with a complacent assertion that lessons have been learned and that what happened was an accident.  The evidence demonstrates this opinion is wrong. This is not acceptable and the Government should be aware that, such is the anger felt by our community - we will not stop until justice is done!

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