Infected Blood Inquiry

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The taintedblood Timeline  -  what really happened...

"To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay, right or justice."
Magna Carta - 15th June, 1215

 
No of entries selected: 7 of 711
1958
Dr. J. Garrott Allen (Former Professor of Surgery, Stanford University)
In 1958, Dr J. Garrott Allen conducts a survey in the Chicago area where he discovers what he refers to as the "prison effect". He finds that there is 10 times more hepatitis in patients who had received blood transfusions from "professional" paid-for blood than in patients who received transfusions from volunteer-donated blood. Dr Allen, warns that plasma centres and blood banks would have to quickly change their methods of operation.
Source: Douglas Starr, "Blood - An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce"
Type: Survey
Location: USA
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1980
NHS Transfusions - Prison Blood
Blood from Scottish prisoners is used in NHS transfusions despite serious concerns that the practice is unsafe.
Source: Link #1
Type: Action - Press
Location: Scotland
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1981
SNBTS Minutes - Blood taken from American Troops Stationed in UK
Confidential minutes from meetings held by directors of Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service show increasing quantities of blood taken from American troops stationed in UK.

Note:
In the USA, blood collectors refuse to take blood donations from GI's until at least 2 years have elapsed since visiting the Far East and then only after blood tests have been completed.

Source: Link #1
Type: Minutes
Location: Scotland
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1983
29 March
SNBTS - Collection of Blood from Prisons and Borstal Institutions
In a meeting in 1983, SNBTS Directors warn that the Medicines Inspector has commented adversely on the practice of collecting blood from prisons and borstal institutions.

It is reported by all Directors present that sessions were held in penal institutions in all regions.

Source: Link #1
Type: SNBTS Minutes March 29, 1983
Location: Scotland
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1983
27 July
Concerns Over Blood Collection from Prisons and Borstal Institutions
In a DHSS Circular from 27 July 1983, we learn that the Medicines Division's Inspection Action Group has concerns about the collection and use of blood from borstal institutions and prisons.

"ĚThe group considered this practice to be highly questionable because of the incidence of homosexuals and homosexual activity in prisons and the present unease about the incidence of AIDS among this group of people. The Group asked to be advised of Departmental policy on the practice of collecting and using blood from borstals and prisons."Ě

Note: We have now found definite proof that prison blood was being used by Scottish and English Transfusion Centres. We are concerned to learn that Blood Transfusions Centres in Scotland were taking blood from borstal and prison sources and at least some of the English Blood Transfusions Centres were also receiving blood from these sources.

Background: We should point out that serious concerns were raised in the UK in 1980 over the safety of using blood from Scottish prisoners in NHS transfusions - and this was hardly the first warning. There were international warnings from as early as 1958, from Dr. J. Garrott Allen, who after having conducted a survey in the Chicago area, discovered what he referred to as the "prison effect"Ě.

We are dismayed to learn that blood was taken from UK prisons and borstal institutions right up until March 1984 - well after prisoners were considered to be high-risk donors. WHY did the Authorities persist with taking blood from prisons?

The following is a quote from a document released under FOI: "Furthermore it is socially and psychologically undesirable to exclude prisoners and volunteers from tropical areas from the donor population. Acceptance of prisoners as donors helps to rehabilitate, and some of these volunteers become regular donors after their release."

Source: Link #1
Type: DHSS Circular from HS1 MB2
Location: Scotland
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1984
January
Ex Minister for Health & Community Care - Final Collections of Blood from Prisons
The following quotations are taken from correspondence, dated 6th March 2005 from Andy Kerr MSP, the then Minister for Health & Community Care in reply to Fergus Ewing MSP, who had written to him asking numerous questions, some of which concerned the collection of blood from prisons and borstal institutions:

  • Question: "When and why did it end and what were the circumstances?"
  • Answer: "The last collections in penal institutions were in January 1984 in prisons and in March 1984 in Young Offender Institutions. This followed comments made by the Medicines Inspectorate as well as discussions by the Transfusion Directors."

Note: What he fails to mention in the above is that the Medicines Inspectors commented adversely on the collection of prison blood as far back as 1982. These concerns were then reiterated after further SNBTS inspections, also stating the reasons as to why it was not a good idea. The problem was mentioned again in BBC's Frontline Scotland: "Blood and Tears" in June 2005 when a certain Professor, working for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, was asked if it was a good idea to take blood from prisoners, and he circumnavigated the issue by repeating to Eleanor Bradford that they "phased it out". It should be noted that this 'phasing out' rather astonishingly took 2 years to do.

He also fails to mention that the Home Office was warned of the dangers of AIDS in prisons in December 1983 and again in January 1984 by the Assistant Secretary for the Prison Officers Association - we know this from another document released under FOI.

Background: According to documentation released under FOI, it appears that discontinuing the collection of blood from prisons was going to cause considerable problems for the English and Welsh Health Authorities; as they would not be able to meet their annual blood quotas. (Source: FOI document).
It seems, therefore, that collecting blood from prisons was not just to help the prisoners feel good, the Authorities needed the blood for the repeated attempts at achieving the much-promised self-sufficiency.

Source: Correspondence to Fergus Ewing MSP from Andy Kerr MSP, the then Minister for Health & Community Care. Dated 6th March 2005.
Additional Source: BBC Frontline Scotland - Blood and Tears (2005)
Type: Letter, also BBC Frontline Scotland (June 2005)
Location: Scotland
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1984
March
Possible Date for the Cessation of Blood Collection from UK Prisons
The collection of blood from prisons and borstal institutions in the United Kingdom continues right up until March 1984, despite repeated warnings that the practice is unsafe. WHY did the Authorities persist with taking blood from prisoners for so long?

Here is a list of just some of the ignored warnings regarding UK prison blood:

  • In 1958, there was an early warning from a respected international source. Dr. J. Garrott Allen discovered what he referred to as the "prison effect" after conducting a survey in the Chicago area.
  • In 1980 we know that blood from Scottish prisoners was used in NHS transfusions despite serious concerns being raised.
  • Then in 1983, the Medicines Inspector commented adversely on the practice of collecting blood from prisons and borstal institutions.
  • By July 1983, the Medicines Division's Inspection Action Group had expressed serious concerns about the collection and use of blood from borstal institutions and prisons.

Note: We are appalled to learn that the practice of blood collection from UK prisons and borstal institutions continued right up until March 1984 - well after prisoners were considered to be high-risk donors.

Source: Definitive Source Pending. (See Find Related Entries link below for additional sources).
Type: Possible Date for the Cessation of the Practice of Blood Collection from UK Prisons & Borstal Institutions. Circa March 1984.
Location: UK
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