Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi has praised yesterday’s announcement by the Government that it will hold a full public inquiry into the 1970s and 1980s blood contamination scandal.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the NHS imported supplies of the clotting agent ‘Factor VIII’ from the USA which turned out to have been produced from blood plasma donated by individuals infected with Hepatitis C and HIV. At least 2,400 people infected in Britain are thought to have died as a result of this contamination, with many more having their lives changed as a result of living with the debilitating consequences of the illnesses they contracted.
Commenting, Mr Zahawi said:
“Yesterday’s announcement that the Government will hold a full public inquiry into the blood contamination scandal was an extremely welcome result for the many hundreds of victims who for years have been campaigning for justice and compensation whilst at the same time suffering from some of the most debilitating illnesses as a result of the tragedy.
“Campaigning for a final compensation settlement and a public inquiry is something I have actively been involved in since being elected for the first time in 2010. The holding of a public inquiry means a final compensation settlement is almost inevitable, making it even more welcome.
“I have campaigned with two affected constituents in particular, in addition to helping them find resolution to the many instances of appalling treatment they have undergone at the hands of the Macfarlane Trust, one of the bodies established by the Government in 1988 to administer compensation payments to those affected by the scandal.
“There has never been a final compensation settlement for the victims and their families, rather they have been drip fed scraps of money from bodies like the Macfarlane Trust over many years. The financial implications of suffering from the illnesses contracted as a result of the scandal have been severe for many victims. Many have become increasingly dependent on payouts from such bodies, giving unaccountable individuals like the trustees of the Macfarlane Trust considerable control over the quality of their lives. It is difficult to put into words the terrible experiences that my constituents have had with the trust and I know that the problems have not been confined to them.
“The timescale of this inquiry is sadly of the essence due to the seriousness of the illnesses from which many of the victims suffer. It is therefore vital that we deliver justice before it is too late for them. I am nonetheless thankful for the small peace of mind that yesterday’s announcement will have brought to victims across the country, and the knowledge that the process of justice is finally due to start”.