Infected blood scandal ‘not an accident’ – with ‘downright deception’ by NHS and governments

UK

The infected blood scandal was “not an accident” – and its failures lie with “successive governments, the NHS, and blood services”, a public inquiry has found.

From the 1970s, 30,000 people were “knowingly” infected with either HIV or Hepatitis C because “those in authority did not put patient safety first”, the report into the inquiry said. Around 3,000 people died.

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The response of the government and NHS has “compounded” victims’ suffering, the inquiry’s chair Sir Brian Langstaff added.

The response included the “deliberate destruction of some documents” by Department of Health workers, in what Sir Brian described as “downright deception”.

Among the key findings from the report are:

  • Patients were knowingly exposed to unacceptable risks of infection;
  • The risk of blood products causing severe infection were well known before most patients were treated – in the case of hepatitis since the end of the Second World War;
  • Transfusions were frequently given in situations where they were not clinically needed;
  • Pupils at Treloar’s school were regarded as “objects of research rather than children”;
  • Blood products imported to treat many people were unsafe and should not have been licensed for use in the UK;
  • There was no contact tracing exercise carried out when Hepatitis C screenings were introduced;
  • There were repeated and ongoing failures by governments and the NHS to acknowledge people should not have been infected;
  • They repeatedly used inaccurate, misleading and defensive lines;
  • Infected people were “cruelly” told they received the best treatment available;
  • There was a refusal for decades to provide compensation;
  • Governments refused to set up a public inquiry until 2017.

Sir Brian makes 12 recommendations in his report, which include an immediate compensation scheme, memorials across the UK and at Treloar’s school, and that anyone who received a blood transfusion before 1996 should be urgently tested for Hepatitis C.

Read more:
The stories behind 100 victims
‘I gave my young son to his killers’
Infections are ‘worst thing you can imagine’

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The victms of the scandal


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