Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Missing blood scandal files are latest part of a cover-up

Issue No. 2641

Thousands of people were given contaminated blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s

Thousands of people were given contaminated blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s (Pic: Factor 8 Campaign)


Government officials have removed hundreds of files relating to the scandal of contaminated blood used in British hospitals in the 1970s and 1980s. The files are now missing.

A government Internal Audit Agency investigation (IAA) last year found that 950 files relating to blood policy had been “checked out”.

The report was released to campaigner Jason Evans under the Freedom of Information Act. Jason’s father died in 1993 after he contracted hepatitis and HIV through contaminated blood.

Jason said, “We’re talking about at least tens of thousands of documents within these files.

“The undoubted question that arises is why were the files removed, and was this part of a cover-up?”

An inquiry into the scandal began last year.

It has heard that 25,000 people might have been infected after being given contaminated blood products decades ago.

Governments imported blood products cheaply from the US, despite warnings that they were unsafe.

The IAA report said that Department of Health and Social Care staff had checked out around 450 files that had not been returned.

A further 500 were checked out by the Department for Education.

It said, “At present, there is no system in place to follow up on physical files which have been checked out from the archives and not been returned in a timely manner.”

Solicitor Des Collins is senior partner at Collins Solicitors, which represents over 1,000 victims and their families.

He said, “We know that there has been a government cover-up. We now have clear evidence that vast numbers of documents were removed.

“We need to get to the bottom of why this happened, exactly what was in the files and what the people who in effect ‘make them disappear’ were trying to hide.”

The inquiry has heard that some victims said their medical records disappeared or were doctored.

Eleanor Gray QC, representing the Department of Health and Social Care, said the treatment of information relating to the scandal is “at worst a cover-up, at best a lack of candour”.


Sajid Javid attacks Travellers

Tory home secretary Sajid Javid plans to make life even harder for Travellers.

Currently Travellers face harassment under civil trespassing laws if they set up unauthorised camps.

Javid has launched a review to see if this can be made a criminal offence.

Police could also get more powers to close Traveller sites.

Currently they can move Traveller groups that have six or more vehicles. New rules could cut this to two.

They could also get powers to remove Travellers from highways and ban them from returning to the same spot for 12 months, instead of the current three.

Javid said unauthorised camps cause other people “significant distress”.

The Tories cause a lot more distress.


Grayling’s non-existent ferry company sails off

Chris Grayling, the bungling transport minister who has overseen a string of failed projects, had struck a £13.8 million deal with Seaborne Freight.

But the government scrapped the contract last week after the firm’s financial backers pulled out.

Seaborne was one of three firms given contracts worth £108 million to put on extra ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It never had run such a service, or had any ferries.

It had borrowed its terms and conditions from a fast food website.

Grayling faced huge criticism over the move but arrogantly insisted it was “not a risk”.

Seaborne’s hoped for partner Arklow Shipping decided to “step back from the deal”.

So the government didn’t change its mind about the contract, but it seems there just wasn’t enough money in it for the bosses.


Clegg gives up cash bonus

The government has stopped paying an allowance to Sir Nick Clegg.

Former prime ministers, and the one-time deputy premier, can receive a public duty cost allowance of up to £115,000 a year to cover official work they might have to do on leaving office.

The Cabinet Office said the former deputy PM gave up his allowance in December after a couple of years.

He’ll have to get by somehow on the £1 million a year that he reportedly gets from Facebook.


Kick over the statues

A statue of Margaret Thatcher is being put up in her home town of Grantham—on a ten foot plinth to try to foil vandals. Ten feet? The Angel of the North, her polar opposite, is 66 feet and someone put a Santa hat on it at Christmas.

But anyway. There you go. It’s costing £300,000 for the statue. Worth every penny.

Troublemaker is in no way endorsing any act of vandalism but there are a number of excellent ladder hire places in Grantham. One very near the station.


Councils dim the lights

Some seven out of ten councils in England are dimming or switching off street lights at night, or plan to, according to figures released after a Freedom of Information request. The AA said this could hit safety, as 11 recent inquests blamed fatalities on lights being off at night.


Water bills set to rise - as leaks continue

The average water bill is set to rise by 2 percent from 1 April

Some firms are grabbing more than others. Yorkshire Water is putting up bills by 4 percent.

The amount of water lost to leaking pipes in England and Wales rose by 1.5 percent in 2017-18 to 3.17 billion litres a day, according to the Consumer Council for Water.


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