Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Medical | By Rita Mcdonald

Inquiry launched into 'appalling injustice' of tainted blood case

Inquiry launched into 'appalling injustice' of tainted blood case

Theresa May has announced an inquiry into the use of contaminated blood products in the NHS that killed thousands of people in the 1970s and 80s.

The inquiry has been launched by the United Kingdom government and a spokesman for the prime minister said it would establish the causes of the "appalling injustice" that took place in the 1970s and 1980s.

It came just hours before MPs held an emergency debate on the scandal. The government will now begin a consultation on what form it should take.

Some 2,400 people died as a result of the tainted blood treatment, "and it was necessary to establish the causes of this appalling justice", the spokesman said.

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Julie Morgan, who chairs the Assembly's cross-party group on haemophilia and contaminated blood, said 70 Welsh people died and many were "still suffering". It called what happened "the stuff of nightmares" and prompted an apology from David Cameron, the prime minister at the time, to victims and their families.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham - who as shadow home secretary championed the campaign for an inquiry - said the announcement was a "major breakthrough", albeit a belated one for people who had suffered for decades. Some of these came from high-risk sources, including prisoners and drug addicts.

"It is a tragedy that has caused immeasurable hardship and pain for all those affected and a full inquiry to establish the truth of what happened is the right course of action to take", the prime minister's spokesman added.

The Government move comes after the leaders of six political parties signed a letter calling for a public inquiry into the scandal.

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"This inquiry is long overdue and any attempt to lie betray or fob off haemophiliac victims and their families with scraps from the table will be met with the derision it deserves".

Speaker John Bercow granted the debate after a request from Labour MP Diana Johnson, who said ministers had failed to consider evidence of criminal activity.

"It is going to be a wide-ranging inquiry".

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said there was a need for a "broad, public, inquisitive inquiry". "I think we need the strongest possible inquiry that can, if necessary, lead to prosecution actions as a result, but above all get to the bottom of it".

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