St Albans NHS blood scandal victim shocked and relieved after public inquiry announcement

A public inquiry has been announced into the tainted blood scandal.

A public inquiry has been announced into the tainted blood scandal. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans victim of the contaminated blood scandal says she is shocked and relieved after Theresa May announced an inquiry into how thousands of people were given deadly illnesses by the NHS.

Nicky, who prefers to only use her first name, has the clotting disorder haemophilia and was treated with an NHS blood treatment called Factor VIII when she was nine years old.

It was made by mixing blood plasma from thousands of donors - if any one of those people had an infectious blood disease it would poison the whole batch.

In the 1980s the NHS imported Factor VIII from America where prisoners and drug users were paid to give blood, which commonly carried diseases.

Nicky was infected with Hepititus C - since then, she has joined calls for a new public investigation into what happened.

She said the inquiry was “about time”: “It’s taken so long, it’s one of those things that I thought was never going to happen.

“I am struggling to digest it, but I am pleased.

Most Read

“I think it’s important to remember the lives that have been lost, it’s important to remember our future and I think never give up, if you are fighting an injustice, keep going on keep fighting.”

Nicky hopes the inquiry will be similar to Hillsborough and criminal charges will be bought against anyone responsible.

Shortly before the House of Commons was due to hold an emergency debate on Tuesday afternoon on whether there should be an inquiry into contaminated blood, Prime Minister Theresa May and health secretary Jeremy Hunt told cabinet colleagues a probe was needed.

Mrs May said it was an “appalling tragedy”: “The victims and their families who have suffered so much pain and hardship deserve answers as to how this could possibly have happened.”

Up until now, the Government had resisted calls for a fresh inquiry. Details of the UK-wide investigation have yet to be finalised.

St Albans MP Anne Main commended the decision: “In light of the claims made in the media last week about potential criminality, I called for a public inquiry, so I’m pleased the government has taken this step. We ought not to forget about the real damage here that’s been done to people’s lives.”