Inquiry to open into potential cover-up behind contaminated blood scandal

An inquiry will open on today (Tuesday) into a potential cover-up behind the contaminated blood scandal which saw thousands of people given infected transfusions by the NHS, including those in the Meridian region.

Nearly 3,000 people died after being treated with blood products infected with Hepatitis viruses and HIV during the 1970s and 1980s.

Thousands more of those affected have endured years of ill health, with one victim describing them as "dead men walking".

The inquiry is expected to take three years and victim support groups estimate between 250 and 300 more of those affected will not live to see its conclusions.

This is the latest inquiry into what has been described as the greatest scandal in the history of the NHS.

  • WATCH: Survivor Ade Goodyear shares his story

Ade Goodyear, who attended Treloar School in Hampshire, is in London to give evidence.

As a child he was diagnosed with haemophilia, a genetic condition that causes a lack of the essential blood-clotting protein known as factor VIII. It means even a small injury can result in severe blood loss.

In the 1970s, a medical breakthrough meant haemophiliacs could keep a bottle of factor VIII, sourced from thousands of blood donors, in the fridge and inject themselves when they needed it.

But for Ade, and thousands of others, this new treatment led to a lifetime of suffering.

Out of 89 haemophiliac children who attended Treloar School from 1975, all were infected with Hepatitis B and C, and contracted HIV.

While Ade has survived to tell his story, he says he lost both of his brothers and many friends who were treated alongside him in Hampshire.

"I lost 73 friends from there. I lost both my brothers, Gary and Jason. One passed from Hepatitis C, and Jason died of Aids in 1997," Ade told ITV News.

Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham said he found similarities to Hillsborough. Credit: ITV News

Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham told ITV News: "Not just that people's medical records had gone missing, although there is evidence of that. Or indeed that they had bits taken out, I have evidence that some people's medical records were amended to suggest that the health problems they had were self inflicted."

As the inquiry begins in central London, the Government has announced extra money will go to thousands of people affected by the medical catastrophe, up to £75 million.

Bereaved partners of victims will also be eligible for support.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "The contaminated blood scandal was a tragedy that should never have happened and has caused unimaginable pain and hurt for victims and their families for decades."