The Infected Blood Inquiry

The Infected Blood Inquiry was announced by the UK Government on 11th July 2017 to examine the circumstances which led to patients treated by the NHS during the 1970s and 1980s receiving contaminated blood and blood products.

In her statement to Parliament, the then Prime Minister Theresa May said: “the contaminated blood scandal is an appalling tragedy which should simply never have happened.”

Sir Brian Langstaff, a former High Court judge, was appointed as Chair of the Inquiry in February 2018 and the Terms of Reference were published in July 2018 setting out its intention to identify what happened, who was responsible and to make recommendations on its findings within its final report to the government.

Commencing in September 2018, the preliminary hearings of the UK Infected Blood Inquiry took place in London.  Over the subsequent five years, the Inquiry extensively collected evidence from individuals infected and affected nationwide, as well as representatives from the governments and expert witnesses, addressing various aspects relating to the scandal. 

On 25th March 2021, the UK Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt made a statement to Parliament announcing the government’s intention to commission a study on compensation for infected and affected victims of contaminated blood.  Sir Robert Francis QC was appointed on 20th May to carry out this study independent of the public inquiry and to make recommendations on the framework for a compensation scheme for victims.

The report was published on 7th June 2022 which can be found here.  Sir Robert Francis gave evidence to the Inquiry on 11th and 12th July 2022 on his recommendations, which included that the UK Government should accept that there is a strong moral case for compensation and that an interim compensation payment be made to infected persons registered to existing support schemes.

Later that same month, Sir Brian Langstaff published his first Interim Report on compensation. Within this report he considered the evidence provided by Sir Robert Francis and recommended that the government should pay an interim compensation payment of £100,000 to all those infected or their bereaved partners currently registered on UK infected blood support schemes. It also included anyone eligible who registered to the support schemes between now and the inception of any full compensation scheme.

The UK Government accepted these recommendations and interim compensation was paid to those eligible at the end of October 2022.

A timeline on the major milestones of the Inquiry can be found here.

Public hearings concluded on 2nd February 2023 with the closing statements from the legal representatives and Counsel to the Inquiry. The closing submission from Thompsons Solicitors representing Haemophilia Scotland, the Scottish Infected Blood Forum and 293 individual clients can be downloaded here.  

During his closing remarks, Sir Brian Langstaff announced that a second Interim Report on compensation would be passed over to the UK Government before Easter. The report was published on the 5th April 2023 and included all of the Chair’s recommendations on the format and scope of a full compensation scheme. The recommendations also included a second interim compensation payment of £100,000 to be made to bereaved parents, children or siblings.

Although the UK Government has thus far accepted that there is a moral case for compensation, no details or timelines have been provided on the creation of the full compensation scheme or their intentions on the matter of the second interim compensation. The Inquiry announced their plans to hold further meetings about the government’s response to the use of infected blood and blood products and the question of compensation. The hearings were scheduled for the week commencing 24th July 2023 and includes the former and current Paymaster Generals and the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

The final report from the Inquiry is expected to be published in late autumn 2023.

Key Documents

Scottish Joint Position Paper on Contaminated Blood Inquiry (Sep 2017)
Infected Blood Inquiry Terms of Reference (Feb 2018)
Scottish Response to Terms of Reference (Apr 2018)
Thompsons Solicitors Opening Statement at the Infected Blood Inquiry (Sep 2018)
Infected Blood Compensation Study (Jun 2022)
Thompsons Solicitors Non-Financial Recommendations (Jun 2022)
Infected Blood Inquiry First Interim Report (Jul 2022)
Thompsons Solicitors Closing Submission at the Infected Blood Inquiry (Dec 2022)
Infected Blood Inquiry Second Interim Report (Apr 2023)

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