The promised public inquiry into contaminated blood supplies has hit an early obstacle.
Charities and campaigners boycotted a meeting called at the Department of Health to discuss the scope of the inquiry, announced earlier this month.
The campaigners want the Department's actions to be at the centre of the investigation.
They say the meeting suggests that, instead, the Department will end up overseeing it.
Liz Carroll, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: 'We know that our members are horrified that the Department of Health might be involved in any way in the discussions about the remit of the inquiry, whether the decision is made elsewhere or not, this meeting is Department of Health organised with DH staff and minister present.
'The key decisions about the purchase, production and treatment for people with bleeding disorders and blood safety were taken by Department of Health officials and ministers. There is no reasonable argument for the same department that took these decisions to be involved in decisions about the inquiry.
'The whole inquiry will be seen by the affected community as biased, unfair and damaging.'
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