Monday 24 July 2017

Theresa May orders inquiry into contaminated blood that has left 2,400 people dead

Theresa May
Theresa May

Shauna Connolly

An inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal which has left 2,400 people dead is to be launched.

Prime Minister Theresa May told the Cabinet she and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had decided a probe was needed.

Details of the UK-wide investigation have yet to be finalised, and consultations will take place with those people affected as to how best to proceed.

The Prime Minister's spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "Jeremy Hunt said that 2,400 people had died and it was necessary to establish the causes of this appalling injustice."

Mrs May's spokesman said the Prime Minister considered the contaminated blood situation a "scandal".

He said: "Consultation will now take place with those affected to decide exactly what form the inquiry will take, such as a Hillsborough-style independent panel or a judge-led statutory inquiry.

"It is a tragedy that has caused immeasurable hardship and pain for all those affected and a full inquiry to establish the truth of what happened is the right course of action to take.

"It is going to be a wide-ranging inquiry."

The spokesman said the decision to hold an investigation had been prompted by new evidence.

The move came just hours before MPs held an emergency debate on the contaminated blood scandal.

Commons Speaker John Bercow granted the debate after a request from Labour's Diana Johnson, who said ministers had failed to consider evidence of criminal activity.

Former minister Ms Johnson called the contaminated blood scandal "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS".

The UK imported supplies of the clotting agent Factor VIII from the US, some of which turned out to be infected - and much of the plasma used to make the product came from donors like prison inmates in the US, who sold their blood.

Press Association

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