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Blood scandal: “A catalogue of failures” by successive governments

A contaminated blood scandal in the United Kingdom (UK), which has caused more than 3,000 deaths, “could largely, though not entirely, have been avoided,” according to the inquiry report on the scandal published on Monday.

The report said that “a catalogue of failures” by successive governments and doctors caused the “calamity,” in which tens of thousands of patients with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders were infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses after receiving infected blood and blood products between the 1970s and early 1990s.

“It may also be surprising that the questions why so many deaths and infections occurred have not had answers before now,” the report said.

The scandal has been called “the worst treatment disaster” in the history of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

The report also revealed that there has been “a hiding of much of the truth” by the government and the NHS “to save face and to save expense.”

Such a cover-up was “not in the sense of a handful of people plotting in an orchestrated conspiracy to mislead, but in a way that was more subtle, more pervasive and more chilling in its implications,” it said.

The scandal was linked to supplies of a clotting factor imported from the United States, which used blood from high-risk paid donors.

The government announced the establishment of a UK-wide public inquiry in 2017 to examine the circumstances that led to individuals being given contaminated blood and blood products.

In 2022, the government made interim compensation payments of 100,000 British pounds (about 127,000 U.S. dollars) to about 4,000 infected individuals and bereaved partners who were registered with the country’s infected blood support schemes.

Famagusta Gazette