Socialist Worker

Blood scandal that ruined lives covered up

Issue No. 2723

The contaminated blood scandal has ruined lives

The contaminated blood scandal has ruined lives


A Tory government knowingly put ordinary people’s health at risk and caused the unnecessary deaths of thousands of people. They then poured time, effort and money into trying to cover up their actions.  

But this is not about the ongoing coronavirus crisis. It’s about the contaminated blood scandal.  Tens of thousands of people contracted hepatitis or HIV after being given contaminated blood products during the late 1970s and 80s. 

Around 3,000 haemophiliacs have died.  And some people will still be unaware that they were given tainted blood.  The Tories are still trying to cover up these monstrous crimes. 

An inquiry into the scandal reopened on Tuesday of this week, as the Treasury denied a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for critical documents.  

It said publishing them would be “disruptive”. And it whined that the documents could be “distorted” by the media.  

Victims of contaminated blood were treated with contempt—and are still denied justice
Victims of contaminated blood were treated with contempt—and are still denied justice
  Read More

Jason Evans, whose father died after being given contaminated blood, made the FOI request. He wanted the government to release further pages from a 1989 file called Haemophiliacs with AIDS/HIV: Macfarlane Trust and Social Security.  

Contempt

Jason had to send eight further letters and appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office before even receiving a reply.  The Treasury claimed that releasing the material could “prejudice the administration of justice”. Jason said the decision was “outrageous”.  

Des Collins of Collins Solicitors, which represents over 1,400 families affected, said, “Our clients are very concerned that this may be the beginning of yet another cover-up.”  

The tainted blood scandal exposed the deadly consequences of governments putting money before human health. It could have been avoided.  Documents released in January showed that Scotland’s blood transfusion service could have supplied blood product Factor 8 to the NHS in England and Wales.  

Victims have been treated with utter contempt. Some weren’t told they had been infected until years afterwards—and could have gone on to infect others.  

Others were told they were “imagining” symptoms or were denied treatment. 

Those infected often suffered horrendous physical symptoms, and psychological trauma. Many lives have been ruined. And people are still having to fight to get truth and justice.  

Today we have another health scandal destroying the lives of tens of thousands of people.  And once again, much of the devastation is avoidable.  The scandal continues because the Tories and the system they represent doesn’t value ordinary people’s lives.


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