Infected Blood Inquiry: Report into NHS disaster due to be published

A public inquiry is due to publish its findings into the infected blood scandal, which has become known as the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.

Tens of thousands of people were infected with contaminated blood products or blood transfusions between the 1970s and early 1990s.

An estimated 3,000 people have died as a result, while those who survived have lived with life-long health implications.

The Infected Blood Inquiry, which was launched in 2017 by former prime minister Theresa May, will publish its final report on Monday.

Hundreds of those affected by the scandal gathered at Westminster on Sunday afternoon at an event organised by the Hepatitis C Trust to mark the end of the inquiry.

Some of those in attendance have been campaigning for decades for justice.

Rachel Halford, chief executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said the fight was not yet over.

"Action from Government to right these historic wrongs is needed as urgently as ever," she said.

"More than 650 who received infected blood or blood products have died since the Infected Blood Inquiry began.

“The Government must implement all the recommendations of the inquiry and announce a clear timeline for when compensation payments will be made as soon as possible.”

Infected blood campaigners meeting in Parliament Square in London. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, MP Dame Diana Johnson, who had lobbied on the issue for two decades, spoke of her emotion as she addressed the crowd.

She said: “The journey has been far too long and far too slow and we know that many are not here when they should be.”

Andy Evans, co-founder of campaign group Tainted Blood, contracted hepatitis C and HIV when he was five years old from being given an infected product in the 1980s.

He told the crowd in Westminster: “We’ve lost so many people to this scandal along the way.

“Many of you are here because you’ve lost someone. Our journey to this point has been defined by loss, and hurt, and sadness and by anger.

“We will never forget all that we’ve lost, but with each other’s help, perhaps now, here, is where we start to heal.”

Former soldier Brendan West lost his leg in 1979 and was given blood transfusions while at a British military hospital in Germany where his leg was amputated.

Four decades later, he discovered that the blood he was given was infected with Hepatitis C.

The 63-year-old said: “Today is for all of those who died and suffered unnecessarily."

Speaking ahead of the inquiry, a Government spokesperson said: “This was an appalling tragedy that never should have happened.

“We are clear that justice needs to be done and swiftly, which is why have acted in amending the Victims and Prisoners Bill.

“This includes establishing a new body to deliver an Infected Blood Compensation Scheme, confirming the Government will make the required regulations for it within three months of Royal Assent, and that it will have all the funding needed to deliver compensation once they have identified the victims and assessed claims.

“In addition, we have included a statutory duty to provide additional interim payments to the estates of deceased infected people.

“We will continue to listen carefully to the community as we address this dreadful scandal.”

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