'It can't give you back anything you've lost' - Inquiry into blood scandal hears from final witness

The final person to take to the stand was Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam who delivered many briefings during the pandemic.

After three and a half years, the inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal, where thousands people were unwittingly infected with HIV and hepatitis, has heard from its final in person witness.

It's a significant moment in the fight for accountability over the treatment disaster in the 70s and 80s, described as the worst in NHS history.

Since 2019, 2,500 witnesses (health officials, former and current politicians, those who were directly affected) have given, what at times has been distressing, evidence about the scandal's devastating impact.

Among them former pupils of Treloars, a college in Alton in Hampshire, who were among 100 to be infected during routine haemophilia treatment at school.

  • Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam finished with this poignant message for survivors and their families.

The final person to take to the stand, is a familiar face to many, Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam, who delivered many briefings during the pandemic.

As an expert in infectious disease, and as former deputy chief medical officer, he was providing an insight into procedures at the Department for Health, to protect the public.

He said: "The inquiry can't give you back anything that you've lost. I hope that in just some small way, the inquiry will help bring about for you a better ending than would otherwise have been possible."

This inquiry was first called in 2017 by Theresa May, so much has changed since then, hundreds of infected people have died, unable to see the inquiry end.

  • The chairman Sir Brian Langstaff gave this reflection as he closed this stage.

Chairman Sir Brian Langstaff said: "The inquiry takes time and time brings its own challenges and its losses. Each individual one matters deeply."

So what happens next? There will be a few more hearings before with any recommendations expected next summer.

It's understood some initial compensation have been received and there's a hearing in Parliament, discussing how further compensation will be made.