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Saying goodbye and thank you to Philip Dolan

A leading Scottish campaigner for people with bleeding disorders, Philip Dolan, recently died following a period of poor health. Following his funeral earlier this week we have collected some memories from those who knew him well and some of the organisations he worked with in the Haemophilia community.  Please comment on this blog to share you own memories.

Philip was at the heart of the bleeding disorders community for decades.  He was one of the longest serving trustees that The Haemophilia Society has ever had and was Chair of their West of Scotland Group for at least four decades.  He founded the Scottish Haemophilia Groups Forum to promote closer working between the Scottish local groups, starting a process which eventually lead to the establishment of Haemophilia Scotland.

He was responsible for the forging the close ties between the Scottish contaminated blood and blood products campaign and Thompsons Solicitors Scotland.  He went on to found the Scottish Infected Blood Forum, bringing people infected and affected by contaminated blood products together with those infected through blood transfusions together in a charity for the first time.  He was a heavily involved in the Penrose Inquiry and served on the Scottish Government’s Infected Blood Financial Review Group when it finished to fight for improved financial support.  He was also one of the first patient representative on the Scottish Inherited Bleeding Disorders Network.

He was often in the media.  Here are a few examples of that work, BBC Scotland (2003), STV News (2007), and STV News (2008). 

Dan Farthing-Sykes, Haemophilia Scotland, CEO,

“Philip believed passionately that bleeding disorders patients had a right to be listened to and fought for decades to make sure their voice was heard.  He campaigned on so many issues, and for so many years, that it is impossible to list them all.  However, they ranged from for better accommodation for the Haemophilia Centre at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, for the early introduction of recombinant clotting factor products, improved access to dentistry, and to providing better local support across Scotland.

“Publically, he may be best remembered for his work on the contaminated blood and blood products disaster.  When devolution re-established the Scottish Parliament he worked quickly to make sure MSPs from all parties were well informed about the scandal.  He was also instrumental in bringing the late Frank McGuire, Solicitor Advocate, into the campaign culminating in a successful judicial review.  He was a redoubtable campaigner with a strong sense of right and wrong.  In 2008, his work was recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

“As word of his passing has spread through the Scottish bleeding disorders community many people have been in touch with their memories of the personal support he gave them often during the most difficult times in their lives.”

Bill Wright, Haemophilia Scotland, Chair,

“Philip’s contribution to advancing the interest of haemophilia patients in Scotland is almost unequalled.  He was dogged in his determination to secure recognition for his fellow sufferers of bleeding disorders.  He will be recognised not only in our community but much more widely by politicians, doctors, nurses and many others who had an interest in our world.”

Patrick McGuire, Solicitor Advocate, Thompsons Solicitors Scotland,

“Philip was a true campaigner.  He was determined.  He was fearless.  He fought tirelessly his whole life for justice for survivors and victims of the Contaminated Blood scandal.  He made a real difference in the lives of thousands of lives.  He leaves Scotland and the whole of the UK a better place than he found it.  Thank you Philip.”

Liz Carroll, The Haemophilia Society, CEO,

“As a trustee for The Haemophilia Society and Chair of our West of Scotland local group for decades, Philip will be missed by many. He will be remembered as a fervent campaigner for people with haemophilia, but particularly those affected by infected blood.”

Bruce Norval, contaminated blood and blood products campaigner,

“He will be remembered for taking the contaminated blood campaign to Holyrood; he made us matter.”

Susan Warren, Haemophilia Scotland member, 

“Philip cared deeply for families affected by Haemophilia; not just those who had been infected by contaminated blood.  He got me involved when my son was a baby.  He was supportive and encouraging of my work both for the UK Haemophilia Society and in setting up Haemophilia Scotland.”

Andy Gunn, contaminated blood and blood products campaigner,

“Philip was a brilliant, intelligent and warm man who worked tirelessly to improve things for us haemophiliacs and others who got infected blood. It was Philip who explained to me when I first started to recover from addiction what had actually happened to us, until then I’d always just believed the government’s narrative.

“It was like his mission in life, he got up every morning and worked consistently day in, day out, year in, year out to fight our corner and with a lot more patience and resolve than anyone I’ve ever met. The compensation or ex-gratia payments we receive today are in large part due to him and I will always be grateful to him for his help in this and many other regards, like pushing for us to receive safer recombinant products for example.

“However, personally Philip was a great support to me and the community. He’d go out of his way to come visit members of the community for lunches and cups of tea.

“I remember when I was in the Royal Free Hospital in London going through chemotherapy for Hep C related cancer and I was really suffering with it all. Whenever he had meetings in London he’d travel up to the hospital and sit with me and chat with me, keeping me company.

“He’d even bring tins of Iron Bru with him to give me a taste of home to lift my spirits and this was typical of Philip. He was kind, thoughtful, helpful and had a heart of gold, you don’t get an MBE from the Queen for nothing.

“Philip had his own struggles with the Hep C as well and I recall him telling me that he barely slept for many of the last years of his life but despite that he didn’t wallow in self-pity, he got up every day and did his best for himself, his family and the community.

“So, yes I’ll miss Philip he was an inspirational guy and taught me much about life, often by example, about being tough and resilient but also kind and gentle.

“God bless you Phillip and best wishes to his friends and family.”

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3 comments

  1. It was Philip that introduced me to other people in the infected blood community, up until then, my family knew no one else that was affected by the disaster.

    I was at the first meeting of the SIBF at Thompson’s , Philip had started the group for people like myself, to bring everyone together, haemophilia or whole blood, it didn’t matter, we were and still are United in our pursuit of justice for all those affected and infected ,however at the early days of the group , I’d say we were definitely a support group , just trying to help people come to terms as best they could, with the circumstances, as said before, he was a determined man , but also he sometimes he had tunnel vision and found it hard to accept other people’s points of view, but that was Philips ways and no matter what everything was done with our community in mind.

    I’m grateful to Philip for all the above things, and I’ll miss him popping into my work, for a quick gab ( Philip didn’t do quick gabs , so I’d just work away while he talked) my work is only 5 minutes from his home, so it was always good to see him popping in or just a wave as he went by .

    He eventually went to stay at the same nursing home as my father in law, who sadly passed away just before Philip, So to both of them I wish eternal rest , it was a beautiful service at Philips funeral and I was glad myself and my daughter were two of the many who came to show out respect to both him and his family, Rest peacefully xx

  2. Over 30 years ago Philip encouraged me to help the Haemophilia community and together we travelled the country offering our help and support. I have been to countless meetings with him and we spent time in each other’s homes discussing every aspect of Haemophilia care and service. We spent so much time together we got to know each other’s families. He kept the West of Scotland Group running for so many years. His dedication and service to the community had no end. I miss my conversations with him. We will all miss his effort and enthusiasm on behalf of all those affected by Haemophilia.

  3. I wish to express my eternal thanks to Philip for all his work over the years which was instrumental in the recognition by those in authority to the scandal from contaminated blood, the ongoing problems encountered by those infected and the eventual acceptance by authorities that compensation, whilst not replacing the years lost and pain encountered, was needed. I have only become aware of his departure from us and have a huge regret that I was not able to pay my respects to him. I would however like to pay my respects to his family. Goodbye Philip, you were a true friend and advocate for us all.

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