Update on Contaminated Blood Inquiry

The government consultation on the terms of the Contaminated Blood Inquiry remains open until the 18th October.

On 27th July, a teleconference was chaired by Right Rev James Jones, former Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, between the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood and a number of campaign and patient groups. The Hepatitis C Trust was represented on this call. Following this discussion, Rev Jones relayed a formal request to the government to extend the original 18th August deadline for consultation responses on the format and scope of the upcoming inquiry. The deadline was extended to the 18th October.

On 6th September, a written ministerial statement was released by Jackie Doyle-Price (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health) to update the Commons on arrangements for the Contaminated Blood Inquiry. It reiterates the government’s decision to push back the deadline for consultation on the terms of the inquiry to 18th October. It also notes that the government is aware of the request to move the sponsorship of the inquiry away from the Department of Health, and confirms that this is under consideration.

On 7th September, Peter Bottomley MP (Conservative, Worthing West) tabled an Early Day Motion in response to the ministerial statement, emphasising the need to transfer sponsorship of the Inquiry away from the Department of Health, and suggesting the Inquiry should be judge-led under the 2005 Inquiries Act. The Motion has thus far been signed by 14 MPs. Haemophilia Scotland has been actively lobbying Scottish MPs to sign the motion, and as a result 8 out of the 14 signatories are Scottish National Party members.

On 12th September, a Hepatitis C Trust representative attended a further round-table meeting of patients and third sector organisations chaired by the Right Rev James Jones. The meeting agreed that a letter to the Prime Minister will be sent by Rev Jones on behalf of the patient groups, expressing that the Department of Health should not be involved in the inquiry, and that it should have power to compel witnesses under the 2005 Inquiries Act.

The APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood met on 13th September to discuss developments and relay outcomes of the 12th September meeting with Rev Jones. The APPG also intends to put out a public statement on the inquiry.

The Hepatitis C Trust will continue to represent affected patients in any further meetings relating to the inquiry, and to disseminate information on developments as they happen. Any affected patients with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact our helpline on 020 7089 6221.