Infected Blood Inquiry summer hearings conclude, to resume in Autumn
The Infected Blood Inquiry is examining how contaminated blood products were used by the NHS to treat patients in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to thousands of people being infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis C. It is the largest public inquiry investigation this country has ever held. It was announced by the Government in 2017 after decades of campaigning.
The summer hearings of the Infected Blood Inquiry concluded last week following the first two weeks of hearings in which Government witnesses gave evidence: Dr Diana Walford, Lord Simon Glenarthur and Lord Kenneth Clarke. With the exception of the evidence of Lord David Owen in September 2020, it has been the first time the Inquiry has heard oral evidence from those working within Government during the period being examined by the Inquiry. The evidence broadly focused on the knowledge within the Government, public messaging and communications, and what action, if any, was taken at the time in response to emerging risks.
This follows a diverse range of witnesses since the summer hearings began in May. The Inquiry has heard from witnesses regarding the current support schemes in the four nations of the UK, witnesses from the Haemophilia Society, campaigner witnesses, and evidence relating to Treloar’s, as well as presentations by the Inquiry on smaller haemophilia centres and the ethical and professional guidance for clinicians.
The preliminary hearings of the Inquiry began in September 2018, followed by infected and affected witness hearings in April to November 2019 and expert witness hearings in February 2020. The hearings from September 2020 up until the summer hearings focused predominantly on the evidence of clinicians who were in post during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as those involved in the running of the Trusts and Schemes which were intended to provide support to infected and affected persons in the aftermath of the infected blood scandal.
The hearings will resume after a seven-week break towards the end of September, when the focus will turn to pharmaceutical companies involved in blood products and blood services.
The Inquests & Inquiries team at Saunders Law currently represents a group of core participants in the Infected Blood Inquiry. We offer expert legal assistance and representation in all public inquiry cases and we are well-known for our work and thorough approach to complex cases, please contact us +44(0)207 632 4300, or fill in our online enquiry form if you would like our assistance and we would be happy to discuss your matter with you.