The Infected Blood Inquiry emailed Haemophilia Scotland and others today to provide an update following the close of the terms of reference consultation.
The consultation on the terms of reference closed last Thursday and the team has started work on analysing the responses we have received online, by letter, in emails, by phone and at meetings. On Tuesday Sir Brian Langstaff started work as full time chair of the Inquiry and is very grateful for your contributions to the terms of reference, including at the meetings with him during the consultation period.
They have also clarified that the Inquiry will cover all of those infected by contaminated blood or blood products. This is the same approach to the different routes of infection that was taken by the Penrose Inquiry. In Scotland, since the Penrose Inquiry, we’ve been working closely with those infected by blood transfusion as part of our relationship with the Scottish Infected Blood Forum.
I’m getting in touch today because I heard that following this Monday’s Victoria Derbyshire programme there had been some concern about how the full range of people affected by the infected blood scandal have been described. As Sir Brian made clear in his meetings with different campaign groups, the Inquiry will be investigating what happened to all those people who were infected, whether they were haemophiliacs or not, and also considering the impact on families.
The Inquiry has also indicated it is interested in holding further meetings to give more people the opportunity to engage. We are already in touch with the Inquiry to look at ways of making sure people in Scotland have the chance to take up this opportunity. We will give you more details as soon as we can.
The inquiry team is now starting to consider how we can best engage with the wide range of people affected as we go through the Inquiry process. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has invited the team to meet affected people who have been in contact with him. This will be an opportunity for them to hear first hand how the Inquiry will work and to give their views about how they would like to engage with the Inquiry.
We would like to hold some more meetings outside London to get views on how people would like to engage with the Inquiry, including from people who have not yet had the opportunity to meet the team, so please let me know if you would like to suggest a particular location, and/or a group of people to meet. And of course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any other questions related to the Inquiry, and I hope you will share this note with your wider range of contacts.
They have also provided information about their new offices. This is where the administration of the Inquiry will take place but it does not have the facilities to hold any of the oral hearings. The oral hearings will be held in other locations.