The Hepatitis C Trust granted ‘Core Participant’ status as Infected Blood Inquiry begins

The Infected Blood Inquiry will this week hold preliminary hearings, with The Hepatitis C Trust taking part as a ‘Core Participant’ in the Inquiry. The hearings will take place at Church House, Deans Yard, Westminster, London, SW1P 3NZ and can be watched live on the Infected Blood Inquiry website here.

The preliminary hearings will begin with a commemoration at 11.30am today (Monday 24th September), featuring filmed interviews, photographs, poetry and music to convey the scale and gravity of what happened. The afternoon will feature opening statements from the Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, and Jenni Richards QC, Counsel to the Inquiry.

Tuesday and Wednesday will feature opening statements from core participants and their legal representatives, designed to allow core participants to outline their priorities and preferred approach for the Inquiry (not providing evidence at this stage).

The Hepatitis C Trust has been designated a ‘Core Participant’ in the Inquiry in recognition of the Trust’s significant role in supporting people affected. Samantha May, Head of Support Services at The Hepatitis C Trust, will provide a contribution to the Inquiry at the preliminary hearings, speaking on behalf of those infected with hepatitis C after receiving infected blood.

Oral evidence hearings are expected to begin shortly after Easter 2019, which the Inquiry team will be preparing for by gathering witness statements and analysing documentation following the preliminary hearings.

Speaking ahead of the preliminary hearings, Rachel Halford, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “The preliminary hearings of the Infected Blood Inquiry are a welcome first step towards finally providing answers to all of those affected by this appalling scandal.

As we have said all along, it is essential that the victims and their families are at the centre of the Inquiry and we therefore welcome the decision to begin the Inquiry with a commemoration. As a Core Participant in the Inquiry, we will represent those who contracted hepatitis C through infected blood during the hearings and will continue to provide support for those affected via our helpline.”

Further information can be found on the Infected Blood Inquiry website here.

If you have any concerns around hepatitis C and contaminated blood, The Hepatitis C Trust’s confidential helpline is open Monday-Friday from 10.30am-4.30pm and is staffed solely by people who have themselves been affected by hepatitis C. You can call the helpline on 020 7089 6221. Alternatively, you can email helpline@hepctrust.org.uk.