Man 'lost everything' after receiving blood infected with hepatitis C by NHS

Up to 30,000 people received blood contaminated with HIV or hepatitis C by the NHS in the 1970s onwards, reports ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger

A man has told of how he "lost everything" and almost took his own life after he was given contaminated blood by the NHS.

More than four decades ago, Stuart Maclean's life was changed forever after he was misdiagnosed with haemophilia at the age of eight and given a blood transfusion that he didn't need.

But that blood was contaminated with hepatitis C. When he finally found out a few years ago, it nearly killed him.

"I just thought hep C - everywhere I looked online it went to the worst possible scenario," he told ITV News.

"I lost my career with depression. Lost everything basically. Nearly lost my life.

"I stood at a motorway bridge to end it all."

Luckily, a neighbour passed by and dissuaded Stuart from taking his life.

Stuart is just one of up to 30,000 people who received imported blood products infected with HIV or hepatitis C.

Around 3,000 who received contaminated products have died in what is described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

When did people receive contaminated blood and how did it happen?

In 1972, the NHS began importing large batches of blood products from the US, largely used to help treat haemophiliacs with blood clotting disorders.

The blood products were often from prisoners, sex workers and drug addicts who were paid to give their blood.

Campaigners have been calling for justice for years over the scandal.

Just two years later in 1974, came the first warnings that those blood products could be contaminated and spreading hepatitis.

By 1983, the UK government had been told AIDS was being spread through them.

But it wasn't until 1991 that blood products imported from the US were withdrawn from use.

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Former prime minister Sir John Major drew widespread criticism on Monday after he suggested that "bad luck" played a part in the scandal.

His comments, shared while giving evidence in the Infected Blood Inquiry, drew audible gasps from those present at the hearing.

"There's no amount of compensation you can give that could actually compensate for what had happened to them," the former PM said.

"What had happened to them was incredibly bad luck - awful. And it was not something that anyone was unsympathetic to."

Reacting to Sir John's comments, Stuart said: "He calls that bad luck? Knowing that our government brought them products from America?

"That's not bad luck, that's irresponsible."

Helpful websites and support

  • Contact the Infected Blood Inquiry via email or by calling 0808 169 1377.

  • The British Red Cross offers confidential support to those affected by infected blood. Those impacted can call 0800 458 9473 or 0203 417 0280.

  • If you or someone you know needs help you can reach Mind on 0300 123 3393 or Samaritans on 116 123, or by emailing