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Sort your disagreements without going to court


Why did it take over 35 years from when the infected blood scandal came to light, and was a major news story at the time, for a public Inquiry to take place?

The answer is probably connected with the legal action that commenced in court in 1989 (which I founded and co-led) and was settled in 1991. The settlement reached with Government (£42m) meant that the evidence would not see the light of day at a court hearing

Under law (Inquiries Act 2005) it is a matter for the discretion of Government whether or not to set up a public inquiry. How appropriate is that when Government, as here, could be implicated in the tragedy?

What is needed in future is that whenever damage is caused to large numbers of patients from NHS treatment that was, rightly or wrongly, the accepted practice at the time, then:-

1. The Government should be required by law, at the instigation of an independent body tasked to identify relevant situations,  to set up a public inquiry, and

2. Full compensation should be paid to the victims without proof of legal liability.

This will ensure not only that the truth would come out and the lessons learnt much earlier than would otherwise be the case, but that victims would not be faced with having to sue and wait for years of litigation to take its course in order to  force out the truth and gain full compensation.

MY BACKGROUND . I founded the 3 man  Steering Committee that, in the late 1980s,  launched and  led the group action against the Department of Health and The National Blood Laboratory for 800 haemophiliacs who had contracted HIV due to treatment with infected  Factor VIIII . After the settlement was reached, I then negotiated a similar settlement for non-haemophiliacs who became infected with HIV from  blood transfusions  I also acted  for haemophiliacs infected with Hepatitis C from UK sourced Factor VIII, on  the basis of delay in making the product safe through heat treatment, but Legal Aid was refused (as was an appeal I ran against the refusal).


Graham Ross

07885 728801

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