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Infected NHS blood scandal victims: Lord Penrose holds our hopes in his hands


Patrick McGuire, Partner “Lord Penrose holds our hopes in his hands” that’s the message from the victims of the NHS infected blood scandal as the Penrose Inquiry’s public hearings come to a close Friday 30th March 2012.

Campaigners and the solicitors for the victims also said that the campaign didn’t end with today’s evidence.  They vowed to ensure that Lord Penrose’s findings are acted upon and to continue pushing to ensure:

  • Proper recognition of the harm and suffering which has been endured by those affected.
  • All the areas of fault are properly explained and recognised.
  • Every step is taken to achieve justice (in terms of proper redress and that all relevant lessons are learnt for the future).

At today’s final public hearing QCs representing the various parties involved, including the victims, will make their final case before Lord Penrose. 

The inquiry was set up in 2008 following a lengthy campaign by the victims, their families, patients groups and Thompsons Solicitors to get answers and learn lessons from a scandal which saw hundreds of patients and haemophiliacs across Scotland infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through blood and blood products administered in NHS hospitals in the 70s and 80s.

Speaking ahead of the hearings today, partner at Thompsons Solicitors and solicitor for the victims, Patrick McGuire, said:

“On behalf of the victims and core participants I would like to recognise the hard work and the dedication of the Inquiry team as well as Nicola Sturgeon MSP for making this Inquiry happen. 

“This Inquiry is a milestone in the campaign for justice for the victims of one of the biggest scandals to hit Scotland’s NHS – we hope that Lord Penrose’s final report reflects that.       

“Like everyone else, the victims of this scandal went for treatment to get better; instead they were infected with diseases that have torn their lives apart. 

“At this Inquiry we have heard the stories of pain, suffering and stigmatisation caused by this scandal.  The victims deserve the fullest possible answers and action to ensure justice is done.”

Chair of Haemophilia Scotland, Bill Wright, was one of the hundreds of people affected by the scandal. He was infected with Hepatitis C through his treatment for haemophilia in the 1980s.  He said:

“The battle to get this Inquiry was long.  Those infected have been through years of pain and suffering while waiting for it.  Too many have not survived while waiting for it to take place.

“Lord Penrose thus carries a great burden of responsibility on his shoulders and holds our hopes in his hands.

“The story doesn’t stop with this Inquiry.  It is only a couple of chapters on the road to justice when a new brighter volume can hopefully start.  Lord Penrose’s findings need to be followed by action.  If such decisive action is not taken, the frustration, confusion, hardship and grief will remain and the issue will not go away.

“For too many people this tragedy defined their life. For both the bereaved families and those remaining with serious illnesses, it is now time to be allowed to look forward with hope rather than back with questions, grievances, loss of livelihoods and anger.” 

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