On 10th July 2017 Diana Johnson MP made a successful application for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the need for a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal. This was in the wake of the comments of Andy Burnham GM following his last speech as an MP on 25th April 2017, Collins Solicitors application for a Group Litigation Order on behalf of hundreds of clients at the High Court on 4th July 2017 and the open letter by the leaders of six opposition parties to the government calling for a public inquiry on 9th July 2017 .
Just hours before the emergency debate on 11th July 2017, Theresa May’s government changed its position and announced a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal. In the words of the Prime Minister “The victims and their families who have suffered so much pain and hardship deserve answers as to how this could possibly have happened.”
Collins Solicitors welcomes the news of a public inquiry and the sentiments expressed by Theresa May. Yesterday’s announcement was a significant advance in the fight for justice by the victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families. Nevertheless the fight is not over and Collins Solicitors is of the firm view that the terms of any public inquiry must properly represent the interests of those who suffered at the hands of this historic treatment disaster.
In the words of senior partner Des Collins: “While the announcement of an inquiry is welcome news, it will be toothless unless it has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath. The victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families deserve the truth, and they deserve the right to be represented and have their questions answered in a full statutory inquiry. A panel led inquiry of the likes of the Hillsborough inquiry risks being a mere paper exercise that will do nothing more than serve as a whitewash.”
Thousands of haemophiliacs were exposed to contaminated blood products in the 1970’s and 1980’s and, despite knowing the risks, the government of the day did too little to warn haemophiliacs of the risk or ensure a safe supply of blood products. Previous “ex-gratia” support for haemophiliacs has been based on a false understanding of the true extent of the contaminated blood scandal and for over thirty years haemophiliacs and their families have been denied the chance to seek proper justice. Collins Solicitors have made an application for a group litigation order for hundreds of claimants in the high court, which has formed part of a public outcry for a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal.
T) 01923 223 324
T) 01923 223 324