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Government apologises for infected blood scandal that killed Dagenham father

PUBLISHED: 16:43 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 01 October 2018

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

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

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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.

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

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 include Tony Farrugia, who lost his father Barry, of Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, and two uncles Victor and Davis.

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

Barry suffered from the blood clotting disorder haemophilia and first showed symptoms of HIV infection in July 1984 after Factor VIII treatment.

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 of her infection: “The impact has been one of devastation, destruction and ultimately death.

“Those responsible for this tragedy must be identified, must be held

responsible for their actions, and prosecuted if necessary.”

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

The inquiry will continue in 2019.

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