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Government apologises for infected blood scandal that killed East Ham man

PUBLISHED: 17:35 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:36 01 October 2018

Victor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel Sutton

Victor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The government has said sorry for the infected blood scandal at the inquiry into the treatment of thousands of people given products containing hepatitis and HIV.

Barry Farrugia died after contracting HIV from contaminated NHS blood products, pictured with son Tony FarrugiaBarry Farrugia died after contracting HIV from contaminated NHS blood products, pictured with son Tony Farrugia

Eleanor Gray QC issued the apology on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care at the Infected Blood Inquiry last week.

The public probe will consider the treatment of thousands of people in the 1970s and 80s who were given blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses.

Victims of the health disaster include Victor Farrugia from East Ham, alongside his brothers Barry and David.

Barry’s son Tony has campaigned for answers and compensation for his family.

Victor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel SuttonVictor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel Sutton

His sister Angela, who lives in Newham, has also been battling for justice alongside her nephew Tony – son of her brother

The inquiry has pledged it will consider “whether there have been attempts to conceal details of what happened” through the destruction of documents or withholding of information.

Ms Gray told the inquiry: “I say unreservedly that we are sorry. We are sorry that this should be so, that this should have happened when it should not.”

She said “things went wrong,” and that the Department of Health “welcome this inquiry and are committed to co-operating with it and assisting it”.

Jason Evans, 29, said he was not convinced by the apology.

His father Jonathan was born with haemophilia, but died in 1993 aged 31 having contracted hepatitis and HIV from the transfusion of Factor VIII blood products.

He said: “What the Department of Health say and what they’re doing are two different things.

“My main takeaway from the Department of Health’s statement was that the QC admitted what happened was wrong.

“They admit wrongdoing, but continue to fight myself and about 700 others on the same issue in a group legal action at the High Court. It just doesn’t feel genuine to me.”

Michelle Tolley, 53, contracted Hepatitis C from blood transfused in 1987 and 1991 after childbirth.

She said: “Those responsible for this tragedy must be identified and prosecuted if necessary.”

Chairman of the inquiry, retired judge Sir Brian Langstaff it is estimated that the number of infected could reach above 25,000.

The inquiry will continue in 2019.

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