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Infected Blood Inquiry: Scots victims to give evidence

Evidence will be taken in Scotland for the first time on Tuesday.

By STV News

Published 02 Jul 2019.

Evidence will be taken in Scotland for the first time on Tuesday in the UK-wide Infected Blood Inquiry.

In 2015 a Parliamentary report found around 7500 patients, many haemophiliacs, had been infected with diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 80s

It is thought around 4000 Scots were affected.

Many UK patients were given blood-clotting products imported from commercial organisations in the US. Paid donors included high-risk groups such as prison inmates and drug users.

The majority of Scottish victims were infected with Scottish NHS blood and blood products - Scotland was not as reliant on imported blood products as the rest of the UK.

Tuesday's proceedings mark the latest stage in the country's biggest ever public inquiry. Affected people will give evidence over the next two weeks in Edinburgh.

It will hear from people infected with HIV and Hepatitis C through blood products and transfusions, as well as NHS and Department of Health officials.

Nearly 3000 people have died as a result of contamination and the main public inquiry is expected to last up to three years.

A Scottish-only investigation published its findings in 2015. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, the Penrose Inquiry was described as a 'whitewash' after making just one recommendation and failing to apportion any blame.

Costing £12m, it was branded a waste of public money by campaigners.

Victims and their relatives want to know why potential safety warnings about the products were ignored and why patient records and documents appear to have been lost or destroyed.

Campaigners are also pressing for compensation for those affected as well as their families.

Dan Farthing, from Haemophilia Scotland CEO, said: "Over the next two weeks infected and affected people from across Scotland will be giving evidence and painfully reliving some of the worst experiences of their lives.

"Those not giving evidence, but attending the hearing or following online, will share in that pain as it brings their own suffering into sharp focus.

"We will hear about how these infections have taken lives, destroyed relationships, and ended careers.

"For the inquiry to succeed it must answer the questions poised to it by our community.

"The inquiry recommendations, when they come, must show that lessons have been learned and make sure that all those damaged by the disaster have the financial and emotional support they need."