Today, representatives of both Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum will be in London to attend a meeting between people affected by contaminated blood and blood products and the former Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones. We will be expressing the views of our members from our recent joint campaign meeting and have jointly issued the short statement below.
In our united view, the UK Public Inquiry should be a statutory Inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act. It should be conducted by a panel rather than a Chair and they should be appointed as soon as possible with appropriate input from affected people. The wrong Chair and Panel is worse than no Chair and Panel. There must be Scottish Core Participants and Scottish legal representation.
We want people to make their own decision about whether or not to attend the meeting with the Bishop. The Scottish charities are attending because we want to take opportunities to engage and put forward the Scottish perspective. Therefore, we are not boycott the meeting or planning to walk out of it. We take the Bishop at his word and believe him when he is says that he is making a genuine attempt to help.
Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum are both currently working with Thompsons Solicitors.
We continue to call for the Department of Health to step aside in favour of another Department taking the lead establishing a UK Inquiry.
On the 25th of July Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum (SIBF) wrote to Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister about the UK Public Inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products.
We have now received a reply on her behalf from Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, as the Minister responsible.
In her reply Shona Robison MSP,
- Offered to take a more proactive role in advising the UK Government of the views of Scottish stakeholders if that would be helpful.
- Agreed with our call for the procedures of the UK Inquiry to be accessible for people in Scotland.
- Detailed information and support offered by Scotland to the process of establishing the UK Inquiry.
- Declared her intention to continue to work closely with us in relation to the UK Inquiry.
Read her reply in full here.
We have also received a reply to Bill Wright’s letter of the 12th July to The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister, which was passed to Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care and Mental Health, as the Minister responsible.
In her reply Jackie Doyle-Price MP,
- Welcomed our ideas on how the UK Inquiry could add value for people in Scotland.
- Recognised that previous investigations have not gone far enough.
- Explained that the UK Governments primary concern is to properly engage with those affected.
- Encouraged us to make further submissions in writing.
Read her reply in full here.
Following our joint campaign meeting it is clear that members want us to engage with the process of establishing the Public Inquiry and to try and influence the terms of reference to learn from our experience of the Penrose Inquiry. We are keen to have an open dialogue with both Governments so that the views of people in Scotland are heard. However, we continue to believe that the Department of Health (UK) are an inappropriate partner for those discussions.