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MEDIA STATEMENT - Mellor and Patten to Give Evidence at Infected Blood Inquiry this week

Former Health Ministers David Mellor and John Patten will give evidence at the Infected Blood Inquiry this week on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th May respectively.

Both held significant roles in the Department of Health & Social Security in the 1980s – David Mellor was Minister of State for Health 1988-1989 and John Patten was Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Health 1983-1985. In addition, Mellor was Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1990-1992.

The insight they must have into what was known by the Department of Health in that period, including when and how decisions were taken about the risks of contaminated blood products and the Government response are highly relevant.

Des Collins, Senior Partner, Collins Solicitors, legal advisor to more than 1,500 people affected by the contaminated blood scandal, comments:

“We are pleased David Mellor and John Patten have agreed to attend the Inquiry and call upon them to assist the process in good faith and to the best of their ability, notwithstanding the time that has passed since they had responsibility for the Department overseeing the nation’s health.

“We were appalled by Ken Clarke’s disingenuous performance at the Inquiry last summer and hope his former colleagues will be more cooperative and forthcoming this week. Out of respect to the Inquiry process, we request that they give an open and transparent account of who knew what, when and how this affected decision-making at the time.

“We believe that the Administration was fully aware at all relevant times that blood products carried a significant risk of infection but was simply too slow to act. When the scale of the disaster became apparent, the response from ministers to properly support and compensate victims was woefully inadequate.

“It is high time for the present Government to admit these failings that undoubtedly contributed to the deaths of some 3,000 people and ruined the lives of many others. There is a clear obligation to the affected and infected. They must finally hear the truth.

“Given that the Cabinet Office and no doubt the Treasury are presently considering Sir Robert Francis QC’s recommendations for a possible compensation framework for the victims of this scandal, the evidence of these witnesses comes at a critical time.”

We hope that in particular the Inquiry will explore the following aspects of Mellor and Patten’s evidence:

• Self-sufficiency in blood products
• The HIV Litigation
• Compensation
• Knowledge of risks associated with blood products


Collins Solicitors Media Enquiries

Des Collins alongside some of Collins Solicitors’ clients (infected or affected) may be available on request for interview. Please contact:

Bell Yard Communications: BellYard@bell-yard.com

Melanie Riley: melanie@bell-yard.com / Mob: 07775 591244
Louise Beeson: louise@bell-yard.com / Mob: 07768 956997
Declan Flahive: declan@bell-yard.com / Mob: 07944 629485

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.