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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Contaminated blood inquiry

19th February 2007

The Haemophilia Society is rejoicing this week as it was announced that an independent public enquiry is to go ahead into the supply of contaminated blood to patients in the 1970s and 1980s.


Over 4,500 people were given blood contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C in the β€˜70s and β€˜80s and 1,700 patients have since died as a result.  Many more haemophiliacs are terminally ill following the blood transfusions they received and Roddy Morrison, chairman of the Haemophilia Society, said, "All across the UK those infected and their families will rejoice that all the facts are finally to be brought out into the open."

The privately funded inquiry will be led by Labour peer Lord Archer of Sandwell, a former Solicitor General. Over 20 years of campaigning has finally led to the enquiry going ahead which has been refused by previous governments.  Lord Archer has been asked to investigate the circumstances which led to patients receiving contaminated blood products and to recommend ways to address both their problems and those of bereaved relatives.

Since contracting the deadly diseases over 25 years ago, many haemophiliacs have suffered terribly.  Roddy Morrison says victims have found themselves to be uninsurable, unemployable and unable to make adequate provision for their dependants.  β€œAn entire generation of people with haemophilia has gone unheard,β€? he said.

Haemophilia is a rare genetic disorder in which blood does not clot normally leading to internal bleeding into joints, muscles and soft tissues.  Around 6,000 people in the UK are affected by the condition.


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