The Public Inquiry into the contaminated blood treatment disaster of the 1970’s and 1980’s formally got under way yesterday (30th April) as it began the first of 11 weeks, between now and mid-October, of hearing the oral evidence of individuals. Steven Snowden KC, instructed by Collins Law, is representing more than 1,000 of the infected and affected Core Participants in the Inquiry – which was described yesterday morning as the biggest Public Inquiry the United Kingdom has ever undertaken.
Thousands of NHS patients were infected with blood-borne viruses including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis through treatment by the NHS with Factor concentrates for haemophilia or in the course of blood transfusions.
The Inquiry – chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff – will consider not only what happened at the time and why, but other issues including the alteration and loss of medical records; whether there was a medical or political cover-up; what ought to have been known by (and done by) pharmaceutical companies, clinicians, government bodies and politicians; the nature and level of subsequent and current provision for those infected and affected; and how treatment disasters of this kind can be avoided in the future.
The Inquiry has attracted considerable press coverage yesterday including:
The hearings can be viewed here: