28 May 2024

The National Haemophilia Database could secure extra government funding as a result of the findings of the national inquiry into infected blood products.

It is one of several recommendations with clinical implications from inquiry chair Sir Brian Langstaff, who investigated the causes of the infected blood scandal that began 40 years ago and delays in identifying and tackling the problem.

His findings led to the Government promising a full compensation scheme and apologising to victims.

Sir Brian’s report also called for a framework to record outcomes for recipients of blood components and says this should improve transfusion practice.

There should be greater use of tranexamic acid, with a target of use in 80% of operations, he says.

The inquiry report backs the current practice of peer review of haemophilia care - but says that Trusts and Boards should see peer review findings, with a view to supporting necessary actions. Every centre should have peer review within periods of five years, Sir Brian says.

The report calls for an improved voice for patients, suggesting they should be involved in clinical audit and that several charities should receive funding for patient advocacy.

Writing to the Government, Sir Brian said: “It will ... be surprising that questions asking why so many deaths and infections occurred have not had answers before now. Those answers cannot be as complete as they might have been thirty years ago, but I have no doubt that the conclusion that wrongs were done on individual, collective and systemic levels is fully justified by the Report. A level of suffering which is difficult to comprehend, still less understand, has been caused, and this harm has been compounded by the reaction of successive governments, NHS bodies, other public bodies, the medical profession and others as described in the Report."

Dr Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said it would be considering the report “carefully”.

Dr Farrar said: “This Inquiry is incredibly important to help us all learn from the past. Modern safety standards are rigorous and significant improvements have been made since these tragic events. We put patient and donor safety at the heart of everything we do, and the UK now has one of the safest blood services in the world. We will continue to learn and improve.”

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Today’s report brings to an end a long fight for answers and understanding that those people who were infected and their families, should never have had to face. We owe it to all those affected by this scandal, and to the thorough work of the Inquiry team and those who have contributed, to take the necessary time now to fully understand the report’s conclusions and recommendations.”

The British Society for Haematology said: “The BSH believes there is much we and our members can learn from the complex background to this inquiry and the tragic series of events that occurred, over decades. We will work with others and act on the final findings and recommendations to try to ensure this never happens again.”

Source: Infected Blood Inquiry/various

Link: https://www.infectedbloodinquiry.org.uk/reports/inquiry-report


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