21 September, 2018
14 months after it was announced by the Prime Minister, from Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th September 2018, the Infected Blood Public Inquiry will hear initial, public opening statements.
The Infected Blood Public Inquiry was established to determine how and why so many haemophiliacs and other NHS patients were treated with contaminated blood and blood products in the 1970s and 80s, resulting in victims being infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.
The Inquiry will hold a commemoration service during the morning on Monday 24th September at Church House, Westminster, London SW1.
Collins Solicitors is representing more than 800 victims, their families and eight campaign groups.
After the formal opening of the long-awaited Public Inquiry, on 2nd July 2018, into contaminated blood and blood-products given to NHS patients in the 1970s and 1980s infecting them with deadly viruses including HIV and Hepatitis, the Infected Blood Public Inquiry will today hear its first public opening statements.
“The establishment can put it off no longer,” said Des Collins, Senior Partner at Collins Solicitors, representing more than 800 victims, their families and eight campaign groups in this tragedy. “Once the hearings start, and those selected as Core Participants start to give evidence, the thousands affected by this terrible scandal will begin the long process of understanding how and why they received infected treatments from the NHS, the details of the extensive cover-up that followed, and what the government proposes to do about it.
For those affected, their families and the campaign groups this is a day few thought that they would ever see – and it is a testament to those who have campaigned so hard to make it a reality.
The feeling among our many clients is that they felt that the Government had washed its hands of them, but now those responsible – both in government and at pharmaceutical companies – will be held to account. For so many people whether affected or mourning those who have died owing to contaminated blood treatments, this is critically important.”
The initial phase of the Infected Blood Public Inquiry will examine the Terms of Reference which set the framework for the Inquiry.
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
The hearings will be filmed and live streamed – a link will be published in advance on Collins Solicitors’ website, www.collinslaw.co.uk/news, and on its Twitter account @Collins_Law.
For commentary, background or insight, please contact:
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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.
The Public Inquiry formally opened on 2nd July, 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 linked to the Contaminated Blood Scandal.
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 800 victims, their families and eight campaign groups, including:
o Birchgrove 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 firstname.lastname@example.org