BRITAIN WILL hold a public inquiry into contaminated blood supplied to patients by the NHS which killed at least 2,400 people, the government said on Tuesday.
During the 1970s and 1980s, blood supplied to the NHS was contaminated with viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C and infected thousands of people with haemophilia or other bleeding disorders.
Health minister Philip Dunne said many documents were publicly available which gave a comprehensive picture of events and decisions made at the time. ‘However, I recognise for those affected these steps do not go far enough to provide the answers that they want to get to the truth of what happened,’ he told parliament.
Families of victims will be consulted to decide what form the inquiry will take.
A report by lawmakers in 2015 said the Department of Health estimated that more than 30,000 people might have been infected with hepatitis C between 1970 and 1991 when Britain imported blood from the United States but just 6,000 had been identified.
A further 1,500 were infected with HIV between 1978 and 1985.
The inquiry comes after leaders from all of Britain’s main political parties, except the ruling Conservatives, wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding an investigation into the issue.
‘For decades people with bleeding disorders and their families have sought the truth,’ said Liz Carroll, Chief Executive of The Haemophilia Society.
‘Instead, they were told by the government that no mistakes were made while it repeatedly refused to acknowledge evidence of negligence and a subsequent cover up. Finally, they will have the chance to see justice.’