Hope for justice as inquiry into contaminated blood scandal which killed East Ham man starts
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal which left at least 2,400 people dead has begun today.
The probe will consider the treatment of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s who were given blood products infected with hepatitis viruses and HIV, and the impact this had on their families.
The contaminated blood scandal involves the use of products donated through high risk sources.
Victims of the health disaster include Victor Farrugia from East Ham, alongside his brothers Tony and David.
Tony has campaigned for answers and compensation for his family.
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His sister Angela, who lives in Newham, has also been battling for justice alongside her nephew Tony – son of her brother Barry.
Sir Brian Langstaff, chairman of the inquiry, previously said it would examine whether there had been an attempt to cover up the scandal.
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According to the terms of reference, which were published in July, the inquiry will consider “whether there have been attempts to conceal details of what happened” through the destruction of documents or withholding of information.
It will also consider if those attempts were deliberate and if “there has been a lack of openness or candour” in the response of the government, NHS bodies and other officials to those affected.
Prime minister Theresa May announced last year that an inquiry would be held into the events over the two decades, when thousands of haemophiliacs and other patients in the UK were given infected blood products.
The announcement was welcomed at the time by campaigners, who have been pressing for years for an inquiry into the import of the clotting agent Factor VIII from the US.
Much of the plasma used to make the product came from donors such as prison inmates, who sold blood which turned out to be infected.
Three days of preliminary hearings have begun and the inquiry is expected to take at least two-and-a-half years.