1. ITV Report

Bereaved mother welcomes Government report on mad cow disease

Claire McVey died of mad cow disease aged 15 Photo: ITV West Country

The mother of a girl who died in Frenchay hospital whilst being treated for the human form of mad cow disease has welcomed a new report criticising the Government's approach to variant CJD.

A committee of MPs says the Government has developed a casual attitude to the risks, which seems to be driven more by optimism than scientific evidence.

Claire McVey died in January 2000 at the age of 15. For 14 years her mother Annie has been campaigning for greater understanding of the disease.

Now a committee of MPs has concluded what she's feared all along - there is still a risk of it being transmitted by blood transfusion and during surgery and warns the Government has developed a casual attitude.

The report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee says as many as one in two thousand of us could be silent carriers of the protein which causes variant CJD and unwittingly passing it on. The MPs say they're disturbed by the Government's apparent lack of concern.

The Department of Health says it is going to respond to the report fully but insists it is taking the disease extremely seriously.

That is why we are providing ring-fenced funding of over £5m each year for research and surveillance. We are continuing work with independent experts and researchers to make sure any risk to the public is minimised, especially in relation to blood tests and instrument decontamination.

– Department of Health

While this new report is a positive step for Annie McVey, she says she will continue her campaign, for her daughter's sake.

We can't turn back the clock. If we could we'd all be doing it. We need to make sure this doesn't put anybody else in the position we've been in, that doesn't shorten any other young life in any way at all.

– Annie McVey