Collins Solicitors Press Release
02 July, 2018
INFECTED BLOOD PUBLIC INQUIRY OPENS
Public Inquiry to establish how and why so many haemophiliacs and other NHS patients were treated with blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s resulting in victims being infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.
Terms of Reference for the Public Inquiry also published by the Cabinet Office.
Collins Solicitors is representing more than 1,000 victims, their families and nine campaign groups.
The long-awaited Public Inquiry into contaminated blood and blood-products given to NHS patients in the 1970s and 1980s, infecting them with deadly viruses including HIV and Hepatitis, will start today, the UK Government has announced.
The Public Inquiry is chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff. The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference were also published today as the announcement was made.
“I am hopeful – and anticipate – that for the thousands of victims and their families that, as this Public Inquiry opens, it will start to give them some long overdue answers as to how and why they received infected treatments from the NHS, the cover-up that followed, and what the government proposes to do about it,” said Des Collins, Senior Partner at Collins Solicitors, representing more than 1,000 victims, their families and nine campaign groups in this tragedy.
“We will be discussing the details with our clients and the campaign groups in the coming days, but my immediate reaction is that we will be happy to work within these Terms of Reference.
“It has been a long and agonising struggle for justice by our clients and other victims of the scandal, in some cases extending back decades. Now those affected can have their say and we hope that the truth behind the events of the contaminated blood scandal, the cause of so much ongoing death and unimaginable suffering even today, will finally be revealed.”
Thousands of haemophiliac NHS patients in the 1970s and 1980s were treated with blood-plasma products, treatments were often imported from overseas and derived from high-risk plasma sources, with donors often being paid. Factor VIII and Factor IX Concentrate Products were the most commonly used products to treat Haemophilia and were particularly high risk.
In total, it is estimated that in the UK, almost 4,000 haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C, whilst over 1,243 also contracted HIV, in many of whom this then progressed to AIDS. Some victims unwittingly infected their partners with HIV, of whom at least 31 have died.
After years of failing to act, the Government announced the Public Inquiry on 11th July, 2017, with the appointment of Public Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, being confirmed on 8th February, 2018. The consultation phase into the Terms of Reference for the Public Inquiry ended on Thursday, 26th April, 2018.
Further details on the background to this matter, its history, a timeline and relevant statistics are available here: www.collinslaw.co.uk/contaminated—blood
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Notes to Editors
In the 1970s and 1980s, Factor VIII and Factor IX Concentrate Products were the most commonly used products to treat Haemophilia and were particularly high risk, with Factor VIII entering routine use in the late 1970s.
It is estimated that in the UK, almost 4,000 haemophiliacs who were given these treatments were infected with Hepatitis C, whilst over 1,243 also contracted HIV, in many of whom this then progressed to AIDS.
Some victims unwittingly infected their partners with HIV, of whom at least 31 have died.
The failure to act is estimated to have caused over 2,000 deaths nationwide, so far. Many victims died too early to be treated with modern life-prolonging medication, without which the death toll would have been much higher.
Fewer than 250 of the haemophiliacs who were “co-infected” with both Hepatitis C & HIV remain alive, most had died before 1997. Those who survive face a lifetime on medication having to cope with both a serious illness and truly shocking discrimination.
Public Inquiry Timeline:
After many years of campaigning by the victims of the Contaminated Blood Scandal, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced the Infected Blood Inquiry on 11th July, 2017.
While the inquiry was originally sponsored by the Department of Health, it was transferred to the Cabinet Office on 3rd November, 2017.
A statement from the Prime Minister followed on 21st December, 2017 announcing that the forthcoming inquiry would be a full Public Inquiry.
Mr. Justice Langstaff was announced as Chair to the Public Inquiry on 8th February 2018, which was scheduled to start sitting in May 2018.
The consultation period with victims of the contaminated blood scandal to set the ‘terms of reference’ of the inquiry lasted until 26th April, 2018.
Group Litigation Order:
In addition to the Public Inquiry, Collins Solicitors applied for the ‘Contaminated Blood Products Group Litigation Order’ on behalf of its clients on 4th July, 2017 and this was granted on 27th October, 2017. Collins Solicitors also represents over 500 victims and their families in this matter.
The High Court also ordered the Department of Health to disclose documents relating to previous litigation related to the Contaminated Blood Scandal.
The next steps in the litigation are the preparation of group particulars of claim by the Claimants by 31st July, 2018, with the defence by the Department of Health due on 30th November, 2018. The next public hearing will be in December 2018.
The Court has ordered that all new claimants must join the Contaminated Blood Products Group Litigation and be on the register by 30th November, 2018.
Collins Solicitors represents more than 1,000 victims, their families and nine campaign groups, including:
o Birchgrove Group
o Contaminated Blood Public Inquiry Group
o Factor 8 Campaign UK
o Manor House Group
o Positive Women
o Tainted Blood
o Tainted Blood Widows
o The Fatherless Generation
o The Forgotten Few
Anyone affected by the issues covered by the Infected Blood Public Inquiry, whether victims or relatives of victims, has the right to be represented.
To join the Contaminated Blood Products Group Litigation, please contact Collins Solicitors on 01923 223 324 and ask for the Contaminated Blood Team, or email the firm at email@example.com