Today, the Infected Blood Inquiry into the contaminated blood and blood products disaster begins oral hearings to take evidence other than from infected and affected people for the first time. While most witnesses will be clinicians the hearings will begin with the Rt Hon Lord David Owen CH FRCP who was Minister for Health in the Department of Health and Social Security from 1974 to 1976. Lord Owen has previously been critical of the way the threat to the safety of blood and blood products was handled and the way important evidence has been destroyed.
Commenting in advance of the hearings the CEO of Haemophilia Scotland, Dan Farthing, said,
“Sir Brian Langstaff and his Inquiry Team are to be commended for holding these hearings despite the huge logistical difficulties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We appreciate their commitment progressing the Inquiry ‘as quickly as thoroughness allows.’
“So far, at the oral hearings, Sir Brian has take powerful and heartrending evidence from infected and affected people about the impact of the infections on their lives. Many have also poised the questions that they have been waiting decades to ask. We hope that the current hearings will now start the process of getting answers to those questions and building a complete picture of the disaster.”