Saturday, August 18, 2007

Health Secretary pledges inquiry into Scottish blood contamination scandal

More in from A Diary of Injustice in Scotland as Peter Cherbi reports on the 'pledge' of SNP Deputy leader & Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to give the victims of the Hep C contaminated blood products used by the NHS in Scotland an inquiry at last into what happened and why these people were made to suffer, some obviously recevinging a death sentence because of actions by the NHS.

Scottish Executive Health Secretary pledges inquiry into contaminated blood products

As the culture of injustice in Scotland beings to be broken down, ever so slowly, our new Health Secretary & SNP Deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon, made a personal pledge there would be a public inquiry into how people were infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated blood products used on the NHS.

I have covered this issue before here : Blood infections Inquiry to be held as Executive challenged to clean up the injustices of the past

If you would like to learn more about the tainted blood products scandal campaign, please visit their website here :

You can also find out more details and the petition calling for Westminster to hold a public inquiry into the matter here :

Many eyes will be on how the SNP led Executive handle this inquiry .. for instance, who will be appointed ? What powers will it be given ? How unrestricted a remit will it really have ? Will the victims finally get justice for the incredible injustice which was done to them ?

The traditional culture of inquiry in Scotland has been to fudge the issues, not blame anyone in particular, avoid the mention of negligence , and rely on secrecy to let those off the hook who were guilty of omission, dereliction of duty, negligence, or even criminal cover up - which may well be the case here, given the quantities of documentary evidence & records destroyed ...

Will the SNP break with that culture of the past fiddles where those who were guilty were protected ? or will the victims of this terrible scandal be given the inquiry they and Scotland truly deserves ? I hope so. It's about time something was done for the people who have suffered in this scandal and hats off to Ms Sturgeon for taking this step. Now it's time for action, accountability, transparency & honesty for the victims of the tainted blood products scandal.

My very best regards to all of those, particularly the long suffering victims, who campaigned for this inquiry and best wishes for a successful outcome.

Pay attention to this please Cabinet Secretary of Justice Mr Kenny MacAskill - there are victims of injustice in the justice system who deserve a similar inquiry pledge - from YOU.

Following report from the Herald newspaper :

Campaigners hail blood products inquiry pledge

WILLIAM TINNING August 17 2007

Campaigners yesterday welcomed a personal pledge from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon of a public inquiry into how people were infected with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products.

The SNP deputy leader made her pledge yesterday after meeting campaigners at the Scottish Executive's offices in Glasgow.

The inquiry was a manifesto commitment of the Scottish National Party. It was announced shortly after the SNP took office that the new executive would hold a Scottish inquiry.

Ministers will await the outcome of the Archer inquiry in England and Wales into Hepatitis C and HIV infections from NHS blood supplies, before deciding on the scope and remit of the Scottish investigation.

Following yesterday's meeting Philip Dolan, chairman of the Scottish Haemophilia Group, who has been part of an eight-year campaign for a Scottish inquiry, said: "The speed and recognition of the need for this inquiry is a matter for which Nicola Sturgeon should be congratulated.

"We look forward to working with her in helping with the remit."

Gary Kelly, 43, from Glasgow, beat leukaemia as a young man only to find out later that he had been given contaminated blood during a bone marrow transplant operation in 1986 which condemned him to live with HIV for the rest of his life. Mr Kelly, is recovering from his fourth heart attack which he blamed on anti-viral drugs he has been forced to take since being contaminated.

He said: "Hopefully sufferers like myself will at last learn how we became infected and why the government at Westminster ignored warnings from groups, including the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, about the potential dangers of importing infected blood products."

Frank Maguire, of Thompsons solicitors, which represents hundreds of the victims and their families, said many had died during the campaign for an inquiry.

However, he added: "The survivors and the relatives of those who have died have remained committed to forcing a public inquiry. At last they have the real prospect of finding out the truth.

"For them it's not about compensation. It's about knowing why it happened, what could have been done to prevent it, and what lessons have been learned to prevent it happening again."

Hundreds of people in Scotland, including haemophilia sufferers and other patients, were given contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the previous administration resisted calls from victims and their families for a public inquiry.

The executive yesterday said a public inquiry in Scotland to find out why people were infected with hepatitis through NHS treatment was "the best way forward".

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