The government’s consultation regarding a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal ended on Tuesday.
The scandal saw thousands of people infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood during the late 1970s and 1980s. Around 2,400 are thought to have died.
Governments imported blood cheaply from the US despite repeated warnings that it was unsafe. There is evidence that some contaminated blood was deliberately given to patients to test its “infectivity”.
Survivors fear that many victims will die before an inquiry is complete. The inquiry must appoint a chair and begin as soon as possible.
Any inquiry must explain who decided to buy contaminated blood and give it to patients and why. It must spell out why papers showing that people were infected deliberately were shredded—and who gave the order to do so.
None of this will happen if the Department of Health is involved, except to give evidence.
Those at the top, and those who are implicated, will want to hide the most damning aspects of the scandal. That’s because it exposes the utter contempt they have for ordinary people.
Theresa May was only pushed to announce a possible inquiry because survivors fought for one.
They will have to keep fighting to make sure an inquiry delivers truth and justice—not a cover up.