Diana Johnson, Labour MP, has co-ordinated 6 Westminster party leaders in writing to the Prime Minister calling for a U.K. wide puiblic inquiry into the Contamined Blood scandal.
The letter is included in full below. The signatures include Ian Blackford from the SNP and Nigel Dodds from the DUP.
Many feel the Government, and Prime Minister, must concede they have no majority on this issue after support from the DUP and other parties.
The SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford stated
Penrose could not force evidence from rUK. We need a Hillsborough style Independent Inquiry to get answers to contaminated blood scandal”.
Some commentators feel that if an inquiry is launched it may eventually morph into a conditional inquiry with limited scope so that some guilty parties cannot be named.
Andy Burnham, former MP and recently elected Mayor of Manchester commented:
This is hugely significant. Now, if the demand for an inquiry was put to a vote in the House, it would pass. To be clear: if an inquiry is not ordered by time the House rises, I will take my evidence to the Police. I have an appointment for 26 July. I have evidence of: falsification of medical records; tests done without consent; diagnoses for HepC/HIV withheld & partners cross-infected. This is why I called this a “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale”. Country now needs to get behind victims & demand justice for them.
I’ve got extensive evidence that’s been sent to me by the many victims of various crimes in my view: falsification of medical records, people being tested for Hepatitis C/HIV without their knowledge or consent, also positive diagnoses of HIV and Hep C are being withheld from people and those people not knowing they had it subsequently then infecting partners or other family members… serious, serious allegations.
And I’ve always said it’s better if they’re investigated via a public inquiry, or form of public inquiry, because we need to match up the papers held at local level by hospitals and local bodies with the paperwork in the Department of Health. So it’s much preferable for the victims that we have a national Hillsborough-style inquiry into contaminated blood because that could get to the truth, in my view, more quickly than a Police investigation. But I am being quite clear with the Government, if they fail to set-up an inquiry, I will take my evidence to the Police.
… In some cases the knowledge of the test and the results were withheld for many, many years after the event so you can imagine all of the potential then for further infection and the problems that came, the health problems that could have fallen to those individuals as a result of that, so very serious issues that have been, quite franklly, brushed under the carpet.
Now this isn’t about party politics, let me make this very clear, all political parties have failed the vicitms of contaminated blood, that goes without saying, what they must now do though, together, is come together to try and put it right and that’;s why this letter today is so significant.
Reiterating Mr Burbnham’s comments around the time delays many people faced, one of the Forum’s members for example was infected for 20 years before being told they were infected by HCV by the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, by accident, after giving blood themselves. In relation to the Scottish Government’s Clinical Review Group, the date of infection here would be more relevant than the date of diagnosis when considering financial supports for those in ‘stage 1’ having had chronic hepatitis C like this person.
The UK Government’s initial response so far at the time of writing, consists of the following:
A Department of Health spokesman said it had increased the amount of money to victims to “record levels” since 2016. We recognise the importance of full transparency, which is why we have published all the information we hold on blood safety from the relevant period, between 1970 to 1995. We will carefully consider any new or emerging evidence before deciding on next steps.
Certainly a developing issue, and a welcome one for many victims and their families. The letter is published below in it’s entirety: