Lawyer for contaminated blood victims welcomes full statutory inquiry

Lawyer for those affected by contaminated blood welcomes the announcement of a full statutory inquiry led by the Cabinet Office into the scandal

The lawyer representing over 350 victims of the contaminated blood scandal has welcomed the announcement from the Government that a full statutory inquiry, under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, will take place.

Emma Jones from the law firm Leigh Day who represents victims and families of those affected by contaminated blood products used in the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s which infected with hepatitis C and HIV said her clients were relieved that the Cabinet Office would have responsibility for the inquiry.

Department of Health

Those affected had voiced their concerns over the involvement of the Department of Health given that their actions would be scrutinised as part of the inquiry.

Campaigners and families of those affected by the scandal, which left around 2,400 people dead and many thousands infected with HIV and hepatitis C, had boycotted a meeting with Department of Health officials over the remit of the UK-wide inquiry earlier this year in protest at its involvement.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The inquiry will be conducted under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office rather than by the Department of Health with immediate effect.

“We have been absolutely clear of our determination to establish what happened in relation to the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s and to work with the families of those affected, and we are now moving forward with that process.

“There was a strong view that it should be done away from the Department of Health. We have listened to those views and that’s why it will be conducted under the auspices of the Cabinet Office.”

Emma Jones a partner in the human rights team at Leigh Day who is representing the victims of blood contamination said:

“On behalf of our clients we welcome the news that this is going to be a full statutory inquiry into this scandal and we are especially pleased that the Prime Minister has decided that responsibility for the inquiry should rest with the Cabinet Office rather than the Department of Health given that it is their actions which need such scrutiny.

“We would urge the government to move quickly to ensure that as many people as have been affected through contamination can tell their story and we would also stress the need for the right and proper people to be chosen to carry our this inquiry to find out how something so catastrophic could have taken place in this country’s health system.” 

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Our clients have been campaigning for many years for answers to their questions, the most burning question being how could contaminated blood have been given to so many NHS patients? We are taking steps to ensure that the surviving victims, and their families, are able to move forward with their lives

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Summary of article first published on 3 November 2017 on the Leigh Day website.

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