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Sunday, 20 May 2007

More about the HIV and hepatitis C blood contamination scandal. - You can't trust Downing St on matters of health and gross NHS negligence.

Number 10 hiding blood scandal facts - The Observer


"An independent public inquiry into how thousands of haemophiliacs contracted HIV or hepatitis C from contaminated blood discovered last night that Downing Street is withholding crucial information about how hundreds of relevant documents were shredded.

More than 1,700 patients died and many more are now terminally ill as a result of one of the biggest medical disasters of recent times, when haemophiliacs were given infected blood clotting products during the late Seventies and early Eighties. The products came from American prisoners who were allowed to sell their blood even though there were fears about the risks of contamination.

But it has since emerged that many of the files detailing the scandal were shredded by civil servants in the Nineties. This week, the second hearing of the contaminated blood inquiry, chaired by the former Solicitor-General, Lord Archer of Sandwell, will ask why the results of an internal inquiry into the destruction of crucial files are being withheld.

Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has discovered that Downing Street is holding back the report, carried out by the Department of Health in 2000, when Alan Milburn was Health Secretary. Some of the destroyed documents detailed meetings between the blood transfusion service, health boards, government officials and consultants during the Seventies and Eighties. The records also contained information on when precisely the government became aware of the risks from imported blood and what measures were taken to warn patients.

The Haemophilia Society said last night that Downing Street's decision was 'incomprehensible, given the public interest'. In 1989, the society brought legal action on behalf of thousands of patients who had become infected with HIV after being given the clotting product Factor 8. Haemophilia is a rare hereditary condition in which the blood does not clot properly. British doctors used the American products despite some senior scientists knowing that there was a risk. Compensation was then agreed with the Tory government in 1990 and thousands of patients received one-off payments of between £21,000 and £80,000.

However, it then transpired that hundreds of documents relating to the case were shredded, allegedly by accident, by junior civil servants. It is now known that there were two separate instances of documents being destroyed, or mislaid, at some point between 1990 and 1998. Some copies of documents had been made by a solicitor's firm, and these were returned to the government, but others are thought to have been lost forever. The total number of destroyed documents is not known. In 2000, the Department of Health held the audit but it was never published."

Read even more about the COLOSSAL negligence of the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer in the early 90s, (actually Kenneth Calman) here http://aboutsalt.blogspot.com/search/label/Kenneth%20Calman and here http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/story.html

1 comment:

  1. It is truly sad and unfortunate that unsuspecting patients get an infection through blood transfusion. But it really criminal and dispicable that in India, unsafe blood is still being transfused everyday.