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14 July 2017

 

There is to be a public inquiry into contaminated blood products, it was announced on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Theresa May yielded to pressure.

Campaigners had rallied senior politicians of all parties to press for the long-awaited inquiry.

The Prime Minister indicated the inquiry was likely to be in public - and could be led by a judge. Its final form is to be determined with campaigners.

The inquiry will range back into the 70s when emerging viruses such as HIV and the hepatitis viruses were spread partly through contaminated blood.

Campaigners claim the authorities were slow to act on emerging evidence of contamination.

The news was welcomed by the Haemophilia Society, which has led the campaign.

The society says it wants an examination of the impact of a policy introduced in 1973 - that blood products should be self-sufficient - and the use of pooled products in the 1970s and 1980s.

It wants the allegations of a cover-up investigated and powers to refer criminal actions to the police.

Chief executive Liz Carroll said: 'For decades people with bleeding disorders and their families have sought the truth.

'Instead, they were told by the Government that no mistakes were made while it repeatedly refused to acknowledge evidence of negligence and a subsequent cover up. Finally, they will have the chance to see justice.'

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