Downing Street announces full inquiry into contaminated blood scandal

Blood transfusion

A full statutory public inquiry will be held to examine how thousands of people were given contaminated blood transfusions during the 1970s and 1980s, Downing Street has announced.

It follows a Department of Health (DH) inquiry earlier this year, which heard evidence from more than 800 people who had been infected with hepatitis C or HIV from contaminated blood.

Around 7,500 people, many of them people with haemophilia, were given contaminated blood products during the scandal that led to more than 2,400 deaths.

Damian Green, first secretary of state and minister for the Cabinet Office that has now taken responsibility for the inquiry, said all responses to the inquiry would be thoroughly analysed and a further announcement would follow.

“The government has taken into account the views of everyone who responded to our consultation. I am keen for the inquiry to proceed as quickly as possible in order to provide those affected with the answers they deserve,” he said.

Responding to the Cabinet’s announcement, former Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb said: “It is good news the government has bowed to pressure and agreed to a statutory inquiry.

“This is crucial to ensure the inquiry is completely independent from the Department of Health, whose role in this scandal needs to be fully scrutinised.”

He added: “The imperative now is to rapidly appoint a chair, and finally deliver answers and justice for all those affected by this horrific tragedy.”

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, November 2017;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203888