Des Collins, Senior Partner at Collins Solicitors, the legal advisor to over 1500 victims of the infected blood scandal, said of today’s appointment of Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC as Sponsor of the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry and the publication of Sir Robert Francis’ Report and Terms of Reference for Compensation :
“My clients tonight will be pleased that the Government has acted swiftly to fill the Inquiry Sponsor role at the Cabinet Office made vacant by the recent reshuffle. Rt Hon. Michael Ellis QC will be the 5th sponsoring Minister since the Inquiry’s inception only 4 years ago.
“While Michael Ellis QC has held a number of Ministerial roles over the past couple of years, none have involved matters of national health. Nonetheless, we are cautiously optimistic that he will apply his undoubted talents towards implementing the recommendations of the Inquiry and to finalising the framework commissioned by his predecessor to compensate properly all those infected and affected.
“Sir Robert Francis QC has worked swiftly to produce the framework published today for the consideration of compensation. However, we take the view that it’s not whether compensation should be payable, but when. Victims of this scandal are dying each year that the government pushes the matter into the long grass. We will not accept a renewed round of delays until the Government belatedly does the right thing. Michael Ellis must act now.
“We also hope he will take the opportunity to read the harrowing testimonies already provided to the Inquiry to educate himself on the horrific and wholly avoidable tragedy that befell thousands of innocent people, including children, prescribed contaminated blood products as a result of failures and cover-ups at the Department of Health some 30-40 years ago.
“We will not rest until we achieve a just and lasting outcome, with the Inquiry and Government’s support, for our clients and others similarly affected.”
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Notes for editors
The Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, is the UK’s largest ever statutory inquiry, established to investigate how men women and children were given infected blood and blood products by the NHS from the 1970s. Hearings can be attended in person or followed live on the Infected Blood Inquiry website/YouTube channel.