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A Scottish Public Inquiry into the NHS blood scandal has refused an application to take further oral evidence on the issue of statistics. The written decision published Monday 12th November by Lord Penrose follows a procedural hearing at the end of October. The decision states that no further oral evidence will be heard but the Inquiry will take written evidence from a number of witnesses named at the hearing.

Lord Penrose who is leading the Inquiry into Hepatitis C and HIV infection from blood and blood products used by the NHS told the hearing last month that he believed taking further oral evidence would slow down the publication of the written report.

Thompsons Solicitors campaigned for the Inquiry and acts for a number of the victims who were infected by blood and blood products administered by the NHS in the 70s and 80s. The Inquiry was set up in 2008 by Scottish Ministers to establish how NHS patients received contaminated blood. It is thought hundreds of Scots have been exposed to infection.

Patrick Mcguire, PartnerThompsons Partner Patrick McGuire said: “This decision will serve as a terrible body blow to the many victims, campaigners and legal representatives who are seeking answers and transparency around this devastating scandal.

The Inquiry can’t possibly fulfil its remit without giving a definitive figure in regards to numbers infected and that is what the additional evidence on statistics would have examined. To conclude without this detail could be viewed by some as casting doubt over the entire process.”

The Penrose Inquiry is expected to publish its final report in 2013.

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