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Borders victim: Penrose report is 'a total whitewash'

The report into contaminated NHS blood products is a "total whitewash", according to a man from the Scottish Borders who contracted HIV.

Robert Mackie, who lives near Peebles, was one thousands of people accidentally infected with serious diseases during the 1970s and 1980s.

The Penrose Inquiry, which took six years to complete, says people in Scotland should tested for Hepatitis C if they received blood transfusions before 1991.

But that's its only recommendation.

And though it found patients weren't adequately informed of the risks, it says few things could have been done differently.

"Devastated, absolutely outraged, a total whitewash, a waste of taxpayers' money and time, this was an international disaster. Medical and scientific information was out there a lot earlier than Penrose is putting forward in his report."

– Robert Mackie


'Contaminated blood disaster' report due

The Penrose Inquiry got underway in 2009. Credit: PA

In the 1970s and 80s hundreds of people in Scotland were given contaminated blood by the NHS - some were infected with HIV, and many have since died.

The Penrose Inquiry was set up to examine how this happened, and what lessons can be learned to prevent it from happening again.

It's findings will be published today.

The charity Haemophilia Scotland has estimated the affect the contaminated blood is likely to have had:

Approximate number of people in Scotland infected with Hepatitis C
Infected with HIV - at least
Less than 200 people infected with Hepatitis C are still alive today
Less than 20 people infected with HIV are still alive
The number of people the charity fears were infected throughout the UK

The report has examined how the NHS collected, treated and supplied blood and investigated what patients were told, how they were monitored and why they became infected.

Some of the infected blood came from paid donors in the US, including drug addicts, STV has reported.

In the UK, the NHS used blood from various sources, including prisoners in Scotland’s jails, where the rates of infection were high.

The chair of the inquiry, Lord Penrose, is unable to attend the launch in Edinburgh as he is said to be seriously ill in hospital.


Friendship cairn vandalised

Graffiti has been sprayed on the cairn.

The friendship cairn at Gretna, which was built in the run up to the Scottish referendum, has been vandalised.

People have left thousands of stones at the sight in support of the Union.

Many of the slates are painted with messages, poems and the names of loved ones.

But now graffiti, including swearing, has appeared.

One stone with the message "naw", now reads "yes". Other examples of graffiti use explicit language.

The people who backed the project say they're bitterly disappointed.

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