Author Archives: Dan Farthing-Sykes

Sir Brian Langstaff introduces himself to those affected by contaminated blood and blood products

Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, is writing a letter to everyone affected by the contaminated blood and blood products disaster.  In Scotland, the letter is being sent out by the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme.


Haemophilia Scotland has agreed to help get the letter out to those affected who are not eligible for financial support but were still affected.  We know there are people who don’t have enough surviving medical records to get support from the current schemes; often referred to as the Stage Zeros.  We also think there will be bereaved families who aren’t registered.  We would be very grateful if everyone reading this post could pass on a copy of the letter to anyone they think might be otherwise be missed.

The covering letter from the Inquiry team says,

In February 2018 Sir Brian Langstaff, a highly experienced High Court judge, was appointed to Chair the Inquiry and a team is being established to support this important work. Sir Brian will be the full-time Chair of the Inquiry from 1 May following his retirement from the High Court. However, in order that people affected by this tragedy face no further undue delay, he will use the
intervening period to conduct a further consultation on the Inquiry’s terms of
reference. We are very grateful to people who have already provided contributions and would encourage others to do so.

Sir Brian has written an introductory letter to all victims of this tragedy. This
letter, a copy of which is attached, sets out his determination to put people at
the heart of the Inquiry and contains details of the consultation on the terms of
reference. Further details on the consultation can be found at Copies of the key consultation documents
are also attached for those who may have problems accessing the internet.

We have asked the scheme you are registered with to send this letter to you.
Your details have not been shared with us. If you would like to receive further
information on the Inquiry please do consult the website or feel free to contact
us at or on our freephone number 0808
169 1377.

Infected Blood Inquiry Team

Haemophilia Scotland, the SIBF, and independent campaigners in Scotland are working together to develop a response to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference Consultation. This will be discussed at a members’ campaigns meeting at the Apex Haymarket in Edinburgh on the 21st of April.  A small group will then meet with Sir Brian Langstaff and his team to put forward our views.

Meanwhile, if you have any points that you’d like to be included in the Scottish response to the consultation please email and/or

Shona Robison MSP sees call for lump sum for Stage 1 Widows

In January, Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum wrote to Shona Robison MSP to call for the widows at Chronic / Stage 1 to be entitled to the same lump sum payment as those who survived.

When the Scottish Government increased the Stage 1 / Chronic survivors lump sum from £20,000 to £50,000 the lump sum for widows was left unchanged. This leaves the households who lost someone before the changes £30,000 worse off than those where the infected person lived longer.  In our letter we called for this issue to be address independently of the work of the Prof. Goldberg’s Clinical Review Group.

shona-robisonIn her reply Shona Robison MSP said,

Though I agree it is important that we consider this further, I do not see the additional lump sum for Stage 1 widows and widowers as a separate issue to the ongoing review.  In my view, this proposal should be considered in the light of the conclusions and recommendations of the forthcoming review.

It had already been agreed that the patient representatives on the Clinical Review Group will put forward companion recommendations covering how the report recommendations could be implemented financially.  Last Friday, Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum met and agreed that we will be including the lump sum for Stage 1 widows in that report.

#PressForProgress for women with bleeding disorders on #IWD2018

Today is International Women’s Day and Haemophilia Scotland is highlighting the important work of women around the world who are fighting for diagnosis and access to treatment for women with inherited bleeding disorders such as von Willebrands.  Working together on gender equality in treatment is integral to our partnerships with our friends in Kenya and Malawi.

To watch the full videos of this panel discussion of 5 different von Willebrand disease outreach programs and the keys to their success, and for hundreds more bleeding disorder resources, go to

The Haemophilia Scotland Women’s Group is proud to be hosting the Women’s Booth at the WFH Congress in Glasgow this May.  The booth will be showcasing amazing work from all over the world and providing a place for women with bleeding disorders to meet and exchange ideas.

Find out more about,


Langstaff Inquiry launches website and consultation on Terms of Reference

The statutory Public Inquiry into infected blood and blood products, under Sir Brian Langstaff, has just launched it’s website at

The site gives some high level details about the Inquiry and a little more information about Sir Brian Langstaff.  However, the main content at the moment is a consultation on the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry.  The consultation was launched at the end of yesterday and runs until 26 April.

On the Inquiry website you will find,

Haemophilia Scotland will be working with independent campaigners in Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum (SIBF) to make a consultation response highlighting the Scottish dimensions to the consultation questions.  As well as using the Scottish Position Paper we published in October, we will be holding a joint members meeting so that everyone in Scotland can discuss the issues raised by the Inquiry consultation together.  We will publicise the details of that meeting as soon as it is confirmed.


Stay safe in the snow


As the red weather warning has been extended, LloydsParmacy Clinical Homecare have had to make the decision to have no distribution in Scotland today.  They will continue to monitor the situation and hope to resume service tomorrow (Friday) and also into Saturday.  They are very grateful for everyone’s patience. They will contact you directly if your delivery will be affected.

The Haemophilia Scotland office is closed today but staff will be working from home.  If you’d like to get in touch please use email if you can.  As usual, all medical enquiries should be directed to your Haemophilia Centre.

We are all extremely grateful to the dedicated staff of the Haemophilia Centres, many of whom have battled into work today.  We’ve heard some Center staff didn’t even get home last night, choosing instead to stay in local hotels to make sure their Centre was staffed today.

More information about the travel disruption, including advice on whether and how to travel can be found on the Traffic Scotland website.

Sir Brian Langstaff appointed as Chair of UK Inquiry

Today, The Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, used a written statement in the House of Commons to announce that the Chair of the UK Statutory Public Inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products will be Sir Brian Langstaff.

Sir Brian is 69 years old and has will be full time on the Public Inquiry from 1 May 2018, when he retires as a High Court of Justice of England and Wales. However, consultation work on the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry will be conducted before then.

Sir Brian went to school in Edinburgh and was the School Captain at George Heriot’s School in 1966.  He was leading Leading Counsel for the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry.

The Government written statement said,

I am announcing today the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to head the public inquiry into the Infected Blood scandal. The inquiry will be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act, with full powers, including the power to compel the ​production of documents, and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

In relation to the appointment of the Chair, the Lord Chief Justice was asked to recommend a judge who, in his view, would be best suited to the task. The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Brian Langstaff: a highly respected and hugely experienced High Court judge. I have accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation.

Sir Brian will be the full time Chair of the Inquiry from 1 May following his retirement from the High Court. However, in order that those who have been affected by this tragedy face no further undue delay, he will use the intervening period to conduct a further consultation on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference

The infected blood scandal of the ’70s and ’80s was an appalling tragedy that should never have happened. The victims of this tragedy who have endured so much pain and hardship deserve answers. It is crucial that their views are properly reflected in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. He will want to listen carefully to the voices of those that have suffered before making a recommendation to me on what the scope of the Inquiry should be. I will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference as soon as this process has been completed.

The Government will ensure that the inquiry has the resources that it needs to complete its work. The Inquiry will, of course, also be independent of the Government.

It is very important that the Inquiry can identify why and how this tragedy occurred and provide answers for the all victims who have suffered so terribly, and can identify lessons to be learned so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.


The High Court of Justice of England and Wales

Lessons to be learned for panel of Infected Blood Inquiry

Today, the Cabinet Office made a statement on the upcoming Infected Blood Inquiry.  They said,

As the Government announced last month, a full statutory inquiry into the infected blood scandal will be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act, and sponsored by the Cabinet Office. The inquiry will have full powers, including the power to compel the production of documents, and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

We are today setting out the next steps.

The Cabinet Office has now completed its analysis of the responses to the consultation on the format of the statutory Inquiry into infected blood announced in July. In addition a series of roundtable meetings were held earlier this month with individuals and groups representing those affected.

The Government committed to making an announcement regarding the Chair of the inquiry before Christmas, taking into account the views we have received. We are therefore announcing today our intention to appoint a judge to Chair the inquiry. We will make a further statement on who that judge will be in the New Year and we will be discussing with them the composition of the Inquiry panel.

We would like to thank each and every person who took the time to respond to the consultation, and to share their views and experiences. We understand how difficult these issues must have been to describe and we a

re grateful for the frankness and honesty with which people have shared their experiences. The responses to the consultation have been carefully considered by Cabinet Office officials. We can assure the House and everyone who contributed that the findings will be passed to the proposed Chair to help inform the discussions regarding the draft Terms of Reference, on which we expect there will be further consultation.

In accordance with the Inquiries Act 2005, colleagues in the Devolved Administrations will be consulted as the Terms of Reference are finalised.

A further statement will be made in the New Year.

Haemophilia Scotland has responded by appealing for Inquiry Panel Members who are able to fully dedicate themselves to challenging role.

We have cautiously welcomed the UK Government’s announcement on appointment of  a chair and panel, stressing the lessons we learned from the six-year long Penrose Inquiry in Scotland.

Haemophilia Scotland Chair, Bill Wright, has said,

In view of the forced resignation of the First Secretary it remains vital that the right Chair and Panel are appointed to lead the Inquiry. When we recently met Mr Green and senior officials in the Cabinet Office it was evident that substantial work had been done but there were still significant decisions to be made. Given that under the Inquiries Act, there are very clear duties upon Ministers in reporting plans to Parliament, appointing a panel and defining Terms of Reference and a setting up date we trust that discussions to appoint potential Panel members are ongoing with Officials. We look forward to meeting with Mr Green’s replacement.

The Panel members and Chair need to be not only able, but also very willing, to take on a formidable task. It is therefore no surprise, from the experience we had in Scotland, that time is having to be allowed to ensure that panel members are not pressed into positions they are reluctant to accept. Instead they need to be willing to ta

ke on an onerous role and dedicate themselves to it over potentially a number of years without alternative distraction. We have waited decades for this Inquiry. We now need the best people to lead it, in terms of appointing Minister, Panel, Chair, assessors and supporting staff.

Today’s announcement makes the upcoming joint campaign meeting with the Scottish Infected Blood Forum on 20th January in Glasgow even more important.  The meeting will be the first opportunity affected people in Scotland will have to come together and discuss our collective view since the announcement.  If you are planning to attend please register so we can make sure we have a large enough room to accommodate everyone.


Cabinet Office

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