Today marks the final day of the Infected Blood Inquiry.
Following the last of the public hearings, Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the inquiry, will now consider all the evidence that has been collected over the last five years. His final report is expected to be published this summer.
Since 2018, the inquiry has heard evidence from more than 200 people who received or whose loved ones were affected by contaminated blood products as well as politicians, leading clinicians, scientists and civil servants.
The final report is expected to be published in Autumn 2023.
Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “The end of the Infected Blood Inquiry marks a milestone in the campaign for justice for people who were given hepatitis C and HIV through the UK blood system.
“The evidence presented at the inquiry has made it clear that Government and institutional failings led to thousands of people dying, and thousands more suffering major health problems. Work must now begin to correct these failings and prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.
“The Government must now issue an unreserved apology for all that’s happened. They must also commit to paying full compensation as swiftly and simply as possible, and to providing psychological support to everyone affected. They must also launch a national testing campaign to help find those who have yet to be diagnosed with hepatitis C. If we are to save lives, this work must begin now.
“We urge anyone who thinks that they might have had a blood transfusion before 1992 to get tested. Speak to your GP and ask for a hepatitis C test.”
Earlier this week, lawyers representing hundreds of affected families and the Hepatitis C Trust made their final submissions to Infected Blood Inquiry.
Leigh Day partner Emma Jones said: “Our core participants have spent almost five years hearing evidence from witnesses from all areas of healthcare, from government, from expert groups and, most importantly, from those infected and affected.
“We have worked with them to try to draw together the key themes of what went wrong, we set out in our written submissions and will restate the same in our oral submissions what lessons we say have been learnt (if any) and what lessons remain to be learnt.
“This has been made even more fundamentally important now we have seen the government’s written submissions and heard its oral submissions. There is simply no acceptance of wrongdoing, no areas in which the government points to its own failings. Instead it is a mealy mouthed attempt at an apology – we will say sorry for the things you tell us we did wrong Sir Brian.
“We hope the recommendations we make, if accepted and made by Sir Brian, would help to ensure that systems are put into place that would help prevent such an avoidable tragedy being able to happen again.”