Prime minister announces inquiry to take place into contaminated blood scandal

PUBLISHED: 16:02 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:02 11 July 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

An inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal which has left 2,400 people dead is to be launched.

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

Prime minister Theresa May told the cabinet she and health secretary Jeremy Hunt had decided a probe was needed.

Details of the UK-wide investigation have yet to be finalised, and consultations will take place with those people affected as to how best to proceed.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “Jeremy Hunt said that 2,400 people had died and it was necessary to establish the causes of this appalling injustice.”

The announcement follows a joint call by six opposition political party leaders for a Hillsborough-style inquiry into what happened.

Thousands of people were given contaminated blood products by the NHS in a scandal which has killed at least 2,000 people and left many more suffering serious health conditions, such as hepatitis C or HIV.

In what has been described as one of the NHS’ worst scandals, blood products made from high-risk donors such as drug addicts, prisoners and prostitutes were given to patients around the world.

These include Dagenham gas technician Barry Farrugia, of Whitebarn Lane, a haemophiliac and father-of-five who died of Aids in 1986 aged 37.

His son, Tony Farrugia, has been among the campaigners calling for an inquiry to take place for years.

He said: “I’ve been crying all day, I can’t believe it.

“Our family will finally see justice. It’s been a long time coming, the truth must be told and now it will.”

Barry, along with his brothers Victor and David, all died after they were infected with HIV or hepatitis C from contaminated blood products used to treat the blood clotting disorder haemophilia in the 1980s.

They were among thousands infected when blood products manufactured commercially and without safety checks were used by the NHS.

It has been described as the 15th largest peacetime disaster in British history.

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