Next stage of the Infected Blood Inquiry begins
This week the public hearings of the Infected Blood Inquiry will resume following an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Infected Blood Inquiry was announced in 2017 following decades of pressure from campaigners calling for an investigation into how thousands of people were infected by contaminated blood products used by the NHS during the 1970s and 1980s. The Inquiry aims to establish the circumstances in which patients were given infected blood and blood products, as well as the devastating impact that infection with HIV and/or Hepatitis viruses has had on those infected and persons close to them.
In February 2020, the Inquiry heard evidence from expert groups on psychosocial issues, hepatitis, HIV, and bleeding disorders. These hearings covered the psychological and social impacts of living with the infections, as well as outlining the latest clinical thinking about hepatitis, HIV and haemophilia. It was established in the expert hearings that the combined physical, psychological and social toll on those infected and affected is unprecedented. Those infected have had to bear the consequences of not only the viruses, but also endless difficult treatments and the stigma associated with the viruses which persists today. The reports written by these expert groups can be accessed here.
The next stage of the Inquiry will hear evidence from decision makers and haemophilia clinicians who were in practice at the time. The hearings will begin on Tuesday 22 September with Lord David Owen, the Minister of State for Health and Social Security between 1974 and 1976.
Lord Owen’s evidence will be followed by a presentation on the development of knowledge of risk of infection from blood and blood products, and evidence relating to haemophilia centres across the UK. The Inquiry’s full indicative timetable for this phase of evidence can be found here.
At Saunders Law, 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. In addition to the Infected Blood Inquiry, Saunders Law are instructed on the Undercover Policing Inquiry and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.