The government has caved in to the demands of the campaign for an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 80s.
I have been pushing for an inquiry alongside my Labour colleagues with affected families and campaigning organisations like Haemophilia Wales, for many years.
An emergency debate on the issue was secured by my Labour colleague Diana Johnson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Contaminated Blood, forcing the government to concede and announce an inquiry moments before the debate was due to start.
The contaminated blood scandal saw thousands of people infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given transfusions of contaminated blood products. Campaigners have long called for the inquiry and we had continually been promised a statement from the public health minister before Parliament rises for the summer recess which failed to materialise.
Approximately 2 400 people have died as a result of receiving contaminated blood transfusions, and there are thousands of people who were infected with HIV, Hepatitis C and other life threatening diseases as a direct consequence.
I know from speaking to a number of my constituents who have been affected by the scandal that the long-term impacts go far beyond loss of family members and chronic ill health. More action is needed.
During the emergency Parliamentary debate I spoke up on behalf of constituents; the family of brothers Haydn and Gareth Lewis, who died as a result of contaminated blood.
I have campaigned with Haydn and Gareth’s family, Haemophilia Wales and other affected families since my election in 2015 as a member of the APPG on Contaminated Blood. We have had a series of meetings with various Public Health Ministers to press for a public inquiry and for the people affected by this scandal to be properly and fairly compensated.
I will continue to campaign on behalf of my constituents and those affected as the inquiry progresses. It’s important to me that we learn from similar scandals, like the Thalidomide scandal of the 1950s and 60s, and ensure that this inquiry is full, fair, transparent and leads to satisfactory outcomes for those affected.
If you or your family have been affected by the contaminated blood scandal, please do get in touch with my office.
You can watch my intervention in the House of Commons here:
Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff Central:
I’d like to add my thanks on behalf of my constituent Haydn Lewis and his family. Haydn who died and other members of the family who’ve been impacted. But the point I wanted to make: Would she agree with me that we should learn from the lessons of the Thalidomide inquiry and compensation fund in this inquiry to make sure that we don’t repeat the mistakes that were made with Thalidomide.