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Government 'knew risks of contaminated blood months before making it public', son of victim claims

It’s been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Thousands of people with haemophilia were given blood contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C during the 70s and 80s.

And now, one man whose father died after being given infected blood says he has uncovered evidence that the government knew of the risks months before making it public.

  • Video report by Charlotte Cross:

Jason has grown up without his father.

Jonathan Evans died when his son was just four years old. A haemophiliac, he had been treated with a clotting agent known as Factor VIII, via blood donations shipped in from the USA.

Unbeknownst to him, and to thousands of others, the blood they were given had been contaminated with diseases including HIV.

And now a memo unearthed by his son Jason, now aged 27, from Coventry, suggests the government may have been aware of the link between HIV and the Factor VIII blood treatment well before making it public.

Sent by a Dr Moore to health department officials, the letter - dated October 1987 specifically refers to the link - stating there was conclusive evidence by April 1984.

But, it says, nothing from the government made that public until the December.

During this time, Jason’s father continued to receive the treatment - and he was diagnosed with HIV just a month before the government press release.

[These are] documents that show just the most blatant, in my opinion, disregard for life that I think is possible.

It’s just inhuman. That’s not how society and the medical community should work, to knowingly infect patients.

– Jason Evans

He’s now one of around 200 people involved in group legal action against the government, claiming it was negligence which led to the infection of thousands of people.

A group of people infected and their supporters held a peaceful demonstration in London this week, calling for a full public inquiry into the issue.

Among them was James Webb, from Redditch, whose grandfather was also given contaminated blood.

“We’re just really looking for some form of justice, as there’s been nothing really ever done about it and now it’s getting to the point where it’s trying to sweep it under the rug I think,” he said.

“Without some sort of accountability there’s nothing to stop this sort of thing happening again.”

A demonstration was held in London calling for a public inquiry Credit: ITV News

For James, Jason, and so many other families touched by this scandal - all they have left now is memories, and family keepsakes.

But what they really want is justice for their loved ones. And if there is a cover-up, they say it’s time the truth was exposed.

In a statement, a Department of Health spokesman said:

We are committed to transparency about this tragedy, and are continuing to work closely with those affected by infected blood to make sure the right support is in place for them.

– Department of Health spokesman

They said they do not believe there is a need for a further public inquiry, and declined to comment on the allegations made by Mr Evans.