Infected blood scandal drama to follow ITV's Post Office series

Campaigners call for compensation for victims of the contaminated blood scandal to be authorised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2023 Credit: PA

A drama about the infected blood scandal following has been given the go-ahead by ITV.

It follows the success of the Mr Bates vs The Post Office drama about what has been called the largest miscarriage of justice in British legal history.

Since the drama aired, former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells promised to hand back her CBE following an explosion in signatories on an online petition and the government promised to speed-up compensation.

What is the Infected Blood scandal?

In the 1970s and 80s, blood product 'Factor 8' was sourced from high risk donors in America like prisoners, drug addicts and sex workers to treat patients in the UK.

To date, more than 3,000 people who contracted illnesses have died.

A public inquiry was set up in 2017 - hearing evidence from hundreds of people affected - before its final recommendations to compensate them were made last year.

Thousands of patients were given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. Credit: PA

The final report for the Infected Blood Inquiry comes out in May. The inquiry has already made its final recommendations for compensation for victims and their loved ones.

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appeared before the inquiry last year, he vowed to pay compensation “as swiftly as possible”.

What is the drama about?

ITV announced on Thursday that Peter Moffat will write the new drama about the infected blood scandal.

Moffat won two Baftas for BBC series Criminal Justice and has also created the screenplay for upcoming Netflix film, Scoop, about the Duke of York’s Newsnight interview.

"It’s been a great privilege to meet those infected and affected and to learn about what they have been through," he said.

"I’m ashamed to say that when I started researching this story I knew next to nothing about it. I’m even more ashamed that this ignorance is shared by nearly everyone I mention it to.

"The victims of this scandal have been let down again and again by the state – I hope in some small way this drama can help their voices be heard."

A national outcry has followed the airing of ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office. Credit: ITV

The drama will focus on "how haemophiliacs and those with other blood disorders were contaminated with tainted blood infecting them with HIV and Hepatitis C" during the 1970s and 1980s, the broadcaster said.

The series will also look at what doctors, politicians and pharmaceutical companies knew about the risk and the work done by victims and their families to bring justice.

ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, said: "Peter’s scripts are brilliant and do justice to this important story, while bringing it to screen with real clarity and compassion."

Collins Solicitors represents 1,500 victims and their families. Des Collins, senior partner of the firm, said he believes the series "will refocus public attention on the tragedy of the infected blood scandal."

Campaigners prior to handing in a letter calling for the government to speed up compensation for victims of the infected blood scandal. Credit: PA Images

"It will expose much of what our clients have endured, not only emotionally and health-wise, but also in terms of shoddy treatment by government, in their decades-long battle for justice during which too many lives have unnecessarily been lost," he added.

"Viewers won’t fail to be moved by this compelling story of the worst treatment scandal in NHS history. Sadly, it remains a devastating reality for many.

"We live in hope that, unlike the Post Office victims, it won’t take a TV drama to air before justice and compensation is secured for our clients and the whole infected blood community."

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