It is unclear if we will see any time soon the contaminated blood disaster leading to people being held to account.
Parallels with Hillsborough continue but the timeframes are concerning if we have to live with the same timescales.
We have people who have misled inquiries and investigations and the complication we also have is that some of us want compensation, some of us want just to know the truth, some of us want to learn lessons so it never happens again and some of us want the people responsible to be fully held to account.
That’s a dilemma for some of us because certainly there are people who have been infected or affected who definitely want to see prosecutions and the full weight of the law thrown behind these issues, but there are others who have very long standing positive relationships with medical professionals who others see as perpetrators of this apparent criminal activity.
Once again there is no easy answer.
It would appear that in line with what’s happened recently in the Hillsborough case where a number of people have been charged with manslaughter or perverting the course of justice or lying, the same could apply to the contaminated blood scandal because of the amount of knowledge that was being held within the medical profession and the political establishment. So much so that people were considered ripe to become guinea pigs to allow medical science to catch-up and use people as guinea pigs to help secure a way of identifying, and then a way of treating this, as it was then, unknown-form of hepatitis.
Whether or not the case will be made that there are mitigating circumstances, whether or not the lack of accountability in the Penrose Inquiry report, whether or not the fact that many of these matters were pre-devolution, are just further complications that might serve there to allow there to be more delays and more muddying of the waters, remains to be seen.
There are maybe some who would welcome a payment that includes an agreement to be quiet and go away and be satisfied, even if it is a significant and fair and full payment in recompense to lost earnings, lost opportunities, lost health, lost family continuity and lost legacy.
We just don’t know if officials would try to be as crass as to suggest that people don’t pursue other legal routes available to them after a more significant settlement might be offered such as some kind of commensurate annual payments to stage 1 people, widows and people who can’t prove certain facts because of missing records.
But the possibility of gagging people is probably been shown to be legally untenable and it would probably not pass muster as a legal route, and because of past experience people would be looking out for that anyway and making sure it never happened.
In fact in Scotland there has been official recognition via the Government-accepted recommendations of the Financial Review Group that it would be inappropriate, perhaps wrong or immoral to try and go down the route of getting people to accept a payment and also sign a form that stops them pursuing anything else. Again, whilst not being perfect and being heavily criticised in parts by the Forum and others, to date the Scottish response has been more balanced than some others.