A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has confirmed that it is the intention of the Government for the Cabinet Office to establish a Statutory Inquiry.
Haemophilia Scotland CEO, Dan Farthing-Sykes responded to today’s statement saying,
In Scotland we have been calling for a statutory Inquiry under a panel rather than a lone Chair. We also called for a department other than the Department of Health to establish the Inquiry and that the Inquiry provides for Scottish Core Participants with Scottish legal representation.
As a result, today’s statement from the Prime Minister is a welcome step in the right direction. We are pleased that she has listened to the concerns of affected individuals and families and will hold a Statutory Inquiry established by the Cabinet Office.
However, perhaps the most important decisions still have to be taken. We must have the right people appointed to the Inquiry panel and Terms of Reference which have the confidence of our community. That can only be achieved by working with those affected.
The Terms of Reference must include both the events running up to the infections and the response to them. The time frame must be long enough to cover all the infections associated with pooled plasma products including hepatitis B and CJD. The unfinished business from the Penrose Inquiry must be completed. The Penrose Report established important facts about the infections in Scotland but failed to follow them up with appropriate analysis or recommendations for the future.
It will be extremely painful for those infected and their families to go through an Inquiry. For many it will involve reliving the most painful memories. It’s vital that they have appropriate support through the process and that their renewed suffering leads to concrete action.
It is hoped that a fuller statement will be laid in the House of Commons soon.