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

An inquiry into the NHS contaminated blood scandal will open on Tuesday 30 April 2019. Credit: PA Images

An inquiry will open on Tuesday into a potential cover-up behind the contaminated blood scandal which saw thousands of people given infected transfusions by the NHS.

More than 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 himself and others as "dead men walking".

A woman from Bishops Tawton near Barnstaple, whose husband died after being given contaminated blood products, is giving evidence at the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Sue Threakall's husband Bob contracted Hepatitis B and C and HIV and died in 1991.He was one of thousands of patients who received contaminated blood in the 70s and 80s.

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. It will examine why contaminated blood was given, how the authorities, including the government, responded and the question of whether evidence was covered-up - and if so by whom?

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

The inquiry will not only look at the decision to import blood, some of which came from American prisons, but at a potential cover-up at the highest level.

Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham says he found similarities to Hillsborough.

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.

Andy Burnham, Former Health Secretary