Infected Blood Inquiry

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Inquiry into Contaminated Blood

The taintedblood Timeline  -  what really happened...

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5 March
Lords Debate; The Earl of Onslow:
On Thursday, 5th March 2009, a short debate took place in the House of Lords. This was in response to a question by the Rt Hon The Lord Morris of Manchester asking when the Government could be expected to respond to the recommendations of the Independent Public Inquiry headed by Lord Archer of Sandwell into the 'infection and death of patients contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C by National Health Service blood and blood products':

The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, there is an expression that I was brought up with, which goes "fair words butter no parsnips".

Noble Lords: Liberal Democrats!

The Earl of Onslow: "My Lords, I am on my feet. Why should I break the habit of the lifetime? Fair words butter no parsnips. Would it not be much easier just to say that both Governments have made a terrible error in this issue and that compensation will be paid, period? That is all that needs to be said."

Type: Lords Hansard
Location: UK
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17 March
House of Lord Debate - Amendment 133 - Moved by Lord Morris of Manchester
On Tuesday 17th March 2009, Amendment 133 of the Health Bill, moved by Lord Morris of Manchester, was debated at Committee stage in the House of Lords.

Lord Morris of Manchester: "For parliamentarians, there can be no higher duty than that of ensuring just treatment for those afflicted and bereaved by contaminated and life-threatening medication supplied by the state, and the emphatic backing of the report's recommendations by the mass media as a whole shows how clearly that duty is understood by the people of this country."

"It was just as clearly understood, too, by my right honourable friend Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the House of Commons, when speaking on 5 March. Already having thanked my noble and learned friend Lord Archer, for his "important work", she told my honourable friend Dr Brian Iddon of her, "congratulations to the campaigners", on having, "brought to the public's attention the injustice that they have suffered", from contaminated NHS blood and blood products. She also made it clear to the House of Commons that: "The Government will respond shortly". Thus the Haemophilia Society now looks forward to a positive response to the landmark report that she so fulsomely welcomed.

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton: "The scandalously slow reaction by previous Governments to safeguard blood products imported from the United States meant that we failed to protect nearly 5,000 people who died or are now living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C or, now, CJD. The amendment proposes establishing a committee that will go some way to righting a great wrong which was done to those people. It is not a big initiative it is just a committee which would be a small, uncostly affair." (Column GC93-GC94)

Baroness Barker: "What I am most concerned about is that the Government's response should be timely and appropriate. It is a great shame that the Government did not contribute to the inquiry chaired by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, but they are under an obligation to respond in a timely fashion. The government response perhaps needs to be in two parts: one an urgent response to the needs of people who are currently living with the consequences of being given these blood products, whose needs are urgent and serious, and the other on the wider question of what we should learn from the inquiry. That response would be much longer and more detailed." (Column GC94)

Earl Howe: "One of the things that I have learnt from the report is that there are too many haemophilia patients currently suffering hardship and serious distress as a result of this worst of all healthcare accidents in the history of the NHS. The Government have a moral obligation to give careful consideration to the report and to respond to its recommendations for the sake of those patients." (Column GC95)

Baroness Masham of Ilton: "A united committee could give support and information to those involved with this challenging speciality, which needs all the support it can get. This amendment may be the last on the Bill, but this is an important issue. The work with prions needs top scientists to find a way of protecting everybody from the dangers of contaminated or tainted blood. It could affect anyone at any time."

Lord Rea: "I have a quote from the report, which sums up the problem in a nutshell. Page 105 states:
"We must now look to the future. We cannot undo the damage done, nor turn back the clock to take a closer view of those past events and decisions. We must address the ongoing needs of those affected and consider how the state can ensure these citizens are recompensed.". This amendment does just that."

Source: Link #1
Type: Lords Hansard. 17th March 2009
Location: UK
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17 March
Lord Morris of Manchester on Crown Immunity and BPL
On Tuesday 17th March 2009, Lord Morris of Manchester made important reference to Crown Immunity and BPL (raised in the Archer report) during the Committee Stage debate of Amendment 133 of the Health Bill:


Lord Morris of Manchester: "The other issue to which I must finally refer is that of Crown immunity, on which the Archer report raises in commenting on behaviour of the Blood Products Laboratory (BPL). The report says:

In July 1979, the Medicines Inspectorate visited BPL. They reported that the buildings were never designed for the scale of production envisaged. They commented: "If this were a commercial operation we would have no hesitation in recommending that manufacture should cease until the facility was upgraded to a minimum acceptable level.".

"...The report then says: "BPL was rescued by Crown Immunity", and goes on to say that, "the existing plant continued production, relying on Crown Immunity to dispense with all the requirements of the Medicines Act, but was able to meet only about 40 per cent of the national requirements".

Lord Morris of Manchester: "Surely, words have lost their meaning if this does not mean that by the use of Crown immunity, a relic of feudal England, the lives of countless haemophilia patients were blatantly and gravely put at risk."

"...There could be no clearer text for describing the enormity of the use by the BPL of Crown immunity to dispense with all the requirements of that renowned and vital statute. I beg to move."

Type: Lords Hansard
Location: UK
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