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8 Oct, 2019 12:05

‘They make the right noises, but action just isn’t there’: Son of UK patient infected with HIV & hepatitis by NHS speaks to RT

‘They make the right noises, but action just isn’t there’: Son of UK patient infected with HIV & hepatitis by NHS speaks to RT

The UK let thousands of patients with a rare blood disorder become infected with HIV and hepatitis. Everyone agrees it’s a scandal, but the government won’t take responsibility for it, a victims’ rights advocate has said.

The so-called contaminated blood scandal started in the 1970s, when a new method was developed to treat hemophilia, a condition that prevents blood from clotting properly.

Sufferers were offered a drug produced from donor blood that could be administered at home rather than at hospital.

The government started importing it in large quantities from the United States, where relaxed safety rules and a practice of paying donors for their donations generated a larger supply. It also meant that some of the imported batches were infected with HIV and hepatitis, which were passed to hemophilia patients in the UK.

Jason Evans, son of one of hundreds of people who died prematurely because of the scandal, is now a campaigner for the rights of the victims of contaminated blood. On Tuesday a public inquiry into the scandal was relaunched after his advocacy group, Factor 8, managed to obtain evidence that senior officials in the Department of Health knew, as early as 1974, that patients were being given lethal diseases, but simply ignored the warnings.

“Victims and families say it’s a scandal, lawyers say it’s a scandal, civil servants I’ve spoken to say it’s a scandal. We’ve got two former health ministers who say it’s a cover-up,” Evans told RT.

The Department of Health at the opening hearings of this inquiry said there has been at best a lack of candor and at worst a cover-up. Yet they still won’t accept their legal liability despite saying that.

“They kind of make the right noises, but the action just isn’t there to back up what they are saying,” Evans said.

Watch RT’s documentary “Bad Blood” to learn more about what is described as the worst scandal in the history of the National Health Service.

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