Contaminated blood inquiry to have full statutory powers under administration by Cabinet Office

In a written ministerial statement, the Government has today announced that responsibility for setting up the contaminated blood inquiry will transfer from the Department of Health to the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office also confirmed that this will be a full statutory public inquiry, under the 2005 Inquiries Act. 

The announcement will come as good news for patients and campaign groups, who had unanimously argued that the inquiry should not be administered by the Department of Health, and that it should be conducted with full statutory powers. However, in a press statement, the APPG for Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood stated that there are still further commitments which must urgently be made if the inquiry is to provide justice to those affected. 

Campaigners have requested a commitment that the Department of Health's involvement will be strictly limited to providing evidence as an implicated party, and that the Department will not be involved in funding or have any say over the terms of reference of the inquiry. They also ask for clarification that the inquiry will be able to use its full powers to compel witnesses and hear evidence under oath, and that the inquiry will adopt a 'families first' approach. 

The Government has promised a further announcement on the setting up of the inquiry before the end of the year. 

Read a news story about the announcement here.