Medicine

Theresa May announces inquiry into Britain's contaminated blood scandal

Theresa May announces inquiry into Britain's contaminated blood scandal

The PM's official spokesman said the UK-wide inquiry could mirror the Hillsborough investigation with a jury - or be a judge-led statutory probe like Grenfell Tower.

Labour's Diana Johnson said Theresa May has "earned a place in history" by launching an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told cabinet ministers that 2,400 people had died and it was necessary to establish the causes of the "appalling injustice".

"It is a tragedy that has caused immeasurable hardship and pain for all those affected and a full inquiry to establish the truth of what happened is the right course of action to take", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said. They have been let down by all political parties and public bodies.

The current mayor of Greater Manchester said he had received damning claims from victims and demanded an inquiry into what appeared to be an "orchestrated cover up".

Many of those infected by the contaminated blood were people with haemophilia, who need regular transfusion of blood products. "So we mustn't pat ourselves on the back and imagine that the United Kingdom product was somehow safe and this was all due to the USA", she told the Press Association.

"Two thousand four hundred people died as a result of this contaminated blood, and it's caused unbelievable stress to many, many more people", the Islington North MP said.

"Just as with Hillsborough, there must be a "families first" approach at all times".

The exact format of the inquiry has yet to be established, but it is likely to look not only at how the patients came to be given the blood, but whether there was a cover-up by NHS and government officials.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had strong opinions about what form the review should take, as he said it needed to be a: "broad, public, inquisitive inquiry".

The decision by Downing Street came hours before the government faced possible defeat in a vote on an emergency motion about the need for an inquiry into the scandal that is believed to have contributed to 2,400 deaths.

"It was obviously a serious systemic failure".

Liz Carroll, chief executive of The Haemophilia Society, said: "The government has for decades denied negligence and refused to provide compensation to those affected, this inquiry will finally be able to properly consider evidence of wrongdoing".