The publication of the report by Lord Penrose into the NHS infected blood scandal was a day of momentous importance for all the victims and their families. It was a day filled with huge emotions.....grief, anger but also resolve and utter determination to make sure that many wrongs are set right.
I share the frustrations felt by the families about the report produced by Lord Penrose. Many of us feel that more recommendations should have been made and a more definitive position on a whole series of issues should have been taken.
Having said this the real value of the Penrose Report is that it lays out in a forensic fashion the events that led to so many people in Scotland and across the UK being exposed to HIV and Hep C.
Most importantly, Lord Penrose also documents in depth the huge levels of suffering that victims have endured. Lives have been cut short. Careers have been ruined. Relationships have been ended and families have been split up. Now that the public and our politicians can see for themselves what happened we feel that true justice can no longer be denied.
So what Penrose does is it allows us to move forward with confidence that The Scottish parliament and The Scottish Government will now move quickly to resolve this matter. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has shown over many years, while she was in opposition and also while health secretary, that she both understands and supports people struck down by contaminated blood.
We now place our hopes in her hands and in the hands of health secretary Shona Robison.
We are pleased to see that the Scottish Government have issued a full and frank apology. We also now expect to see as recommended by Lord Penrose that no effort is spared to find people who were infected by Hep C but are not yet aware of the fact. And finally we expect the Scottish Government to set up their own compensation scheme for victims. The wholly inadequate schemes set up and administered by the UK government are no longer acceptable. The Scottish Government must sever it's links with the UK Schemes. They must look across the water to the Republic of Ireland and the scheme that exists there to provide full financial redress. We therefore look to the Scottish Government to use the powers they have to make sure we have a properly funded solution set up and run in Scotland for Scotland.
As a lawyer you might be surprised to hear that I don't want to see this end up in any legal action. In common with the victims and their families I have faith that Nicola Sturgeon and her government will carry on the support they have already shown and will give us the resolution we seek without any need for the courts. Its over to you Nicola we feel sure you won't let us down.
Patrick McGuire is a partner with Thompsons Solicitors. His legal team represented the victims and their families at the Penrose Inquiry.