Contaminated blood scandal inquiry welcomed by AMs

Contaminated blood scandal inquiry welcomed by AMs

Contaminated blood scandal inquiry welcomed by AMs

Theresa May has ordered an inquiry into how thousands of people were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from contaminated blood during the 1970s and 1980s.

Theresa May's spokesman said: 'Jeremy Hunt said that 2,400 people had died and it was necessary to establish the causes of this appalling injustice'.

Because of a shortage of blood products in Britain, the NHS bought much of its stock from United States suppliers whose donors, including prisoners and other groups at high risk of infection, had been paid for their blood.

Pressure had been growing on May to agree to a public inquiry, and the government's announcement on Tuesday came just hours before Parliament was due to debate the issue. 273 people were infected by contaminated blood in Wales, many of them are still suffering and the pain still continues for them and their families.

Those affected will help decide what form the inquiry will take, he said.

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.

Many of those infected by the contaminated blood were people with haemophilia, who need regular transfusion of blood products. Some of these came from high-risk sources, including prisoners and drug addicts. 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.

"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", he said.

"It was obviously a serious systemic failure".

Beginning the debate in the Commons, Johnson, the Hull North MP, said the best approach appeared likely to be a Hillsborough-style panel.

Liz Carroll, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said the government had repeatedly ignored evidence of negligence, adding the inquiry would finally give the families of those affected the "chance to see justice". "This has to have the support and confidence of those affected", she said.

She said it could be a public inquiry, similar to the Hilsborough probe, or a judge-led statutory inquiry.

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