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Theresa May orders inquiry into NHS contaminated blood scandal

Theresa May orders inquiry into NHS contaminated blood scandal
2 min read

Theresa May has announced a public inquiry will take place into the "appalling injustice" of the NHS contaminated blood scandal. 

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Cabinet this morning that thousands of people had died after being infected with Hepatitis C and HIV from NHS blood products in the 1970s and 80s.

“The Prime Minister told Cabinet that she and the Health Secretary had decided that an inquiry should take place into the contaminated blood scandal,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said this morning.

“Jeremy Hunt said that 2,400 people had died and it was necessary to establish the causes of this appalling injustice.”

The spokesman added: “It will be UK-wide and consultation will now take place with those affected to decide exactly what form the inquiry will take, such as a Hillsborough-style independent panel or a judge-led statutory inquiry.”

The decision to launch an inquiry comes on the back of a concerted campaign spearheaded by Labour MP Diana Johnson and former health secretary Andy Burnham.

She challenged Mrs May on the issue at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions and urged her to “do the right thing and order a public inquiry for the whole United Kingdom”.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said today that Mrs May had always been open to the possibility of ordering additional action.

“We have been clear when she's been asked in the House that if new evidence were presented we would look at that and that's what's happened so we've got to a position where we think an inquiry should be held,” the spokesman said.

“It is a tragedy which has caused unimaginable hardship and pain for all those affected and a full inquiry to establish the truth of what happened is the right course of action to take.”

Ms Johnson had secured a three-hour emergency debate in the Commons on the issue today.

Earlier this week, she organised a letter from opposition leaders pressing Mrs May to commit to a public inquiry. 

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