Last week, hearings for the public inquiry into the Contaminated blood scandal began. Chester MP, Chris Matheson has been calling for concrete assurances from the Government that the recommendations of the inquiry be implemented, and victims be financially supported throughout the duration of the inquiry.
The Contaminated blood scandal has devastated thousands of lives, leaving some 4,800 people infected with hepatitis C or HIV after receiving contaminated blood products in the 1980s sourced from the USA. Nearly 3,000 people have died as a result of contamination. Patient support groups estimate victim death-rate at one every four days.
“Progress on this issue has been unacceptably slow. For too long, the contaminated blood community has been failed by government and ignored by those who have let the demands of those affected fall on deaf ears, leaving the community without justice.
Whilst the inquiry has just started, victims affected by this scandal since the 1980s continue to live with the consequences. Frankly, many members of the infected blood community will not live to see the outcome of the inquiry. Whilst I understand that no amount of money can ever make up for what happened, it is right that those still living with the consequences receive the dignity of a full, fair and lasting settlement to support victims and their families. A miniscule amount of financial support has been provided by the government. This is simply wrong.
I have become personally involved in this campaign so far through two constituents who were directly affected. It is vital that victims are compensated and supported during the course of the inquiry, and not just on its conclusion – indeed, my constituents continue to suffer every day as a result of contaminated blood.
This inquiry seeks to investigate why warnings about the safety of the blood products may have been ignored, and why plans to make the UK self-sufficient in blood products were scrapped. Furthermore, many documents and patient records appear to have been lost or destroyed over the years – it is vital that this disappearance is properly investigated.”
Chris is encouraging people to sign the petition set up by the victims to ask the Government to commit to implementing any recommendations that the Infected Blood Inquiry may make.
Chris said: “I will be supporting this petition, and continuing to fight for the financial aid that these victims so deserve.”