Cabinet Office to lead contaminated blood inquiry after victims block Department of Health role

Posted On: 
3rd November 2017

There will be a ‘full statutory inquiry’ into the contaminated blood scandal after campaigners successfully blocked Department of Health involvement.

An inquiry has been launched into how thousands of people were infected with contaminated blood in the 1970s and 80s

The investigation into the scandal, that left at least 2,400 people dead, will be led by the Cabinet Office, the Government has announced today.   

Theresa May first promised an inquiry into the issue over the summer, describing it as "an appalling tragedy".

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The investigation will look at how thousands of people, many with the inherited bleeding disorder haemophilia, were given infected blood during 1970s and 80s.

During a public consultation over the summer, which received more than 800 responses, concerns were raised over the Department for Health’s involvement in the probe.  

Victims and family members have long campaigned against any potential involvement of the department, claiming it would be effectively investigating itself.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said today: "The inquiry will be conducted under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office rather than by the Department of Health with immediate effect.

"We have been absolutely clear of our determination to establish what happened in relation to the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s and to work with the families of those affected, and we are now moving forward with that process.

"There was a strong view that it should be done away from the Department of Health. We have listened to those views and that's why it will be conducted under the auspices of the Cabinet Office."

In a written statement, First Secretary of State Damian Green added: “Taking into account the views of those who responded to the consultation, I am announcing today that responsibility for setting up the independent inquiry will transfer from the Department of Health to the Cabinet Office with immediate effect.

“I am also announcing that this will be a full statutory public inquiry, created under the 2005 Inquiries Act.”  

Labour MP and chair of the all party group on contaminated blood, Diana Johnson said: “I welcome the Government’s confirmation that the Department of Health will not be the sponsoring body for the contaminated blood inquiry; and that it will be a statutory inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act.