Alistair Burt MP led a Backbench Business debate on Contaminated Blood on the 15th Jan 2015. There was a good turnout of MPs for a debate of this sort and over 30 made a contribution to the debate.
Many of the MPs referred to the coming Penrose Inquiry. Comments ranged from those who were looking forwards to using any new information which came out of the Inquiry to those who felt that no further information was needed to develop a just settlement.
We were particularly pleased that their were strong contributions from two of the MPs from Scotland, Tom Clarke MP (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) and Graeme Morrice MP (Livingston).
Tom Clarke MP read extensively from an excellent letter from John Prior, who many of you will know from his campaigning work on the contaminated blood issue in Scotland. Mr Clarke also paid tribute to the work of Alf Morris (The RT Hon. The Lord Morris of Manchester) on this issue and morned his passing. In particular he focused on the resistance he and Lord Morris had faced when trying to pass the Contaminated Blood and Bereaved Persons Bill and Mr Clarke’s 10 Minute Rule Bill.
Quote from John Prior relayed to parliament by Tom Clarke MP.
“My liver consultant applied to Skipton for the stage 2 payment but my application was rejected because I had not reached the ‘crisis’ point. How can a charity ignore the recommendations of a liver consultant? My experience with Caxton was just as bad.”
Graeme Morrice MP also highlighted the personal experiences of his constituents; Billy Cannon who died following his infection with Hepatitis C, and Vera Gaskin. Both were infected when they received contaminated blood transfusions. Mr Morrice highlighted the distress of the diagnosis and the inadequacies of the current support arrangements.
Quote from Vera Gaskin relayed to parliament by Graeme Morrice MP.
“It is not fit for purpose, does not serve the victim and is causing more harm than good.”
Responding for the Government to a debate which at times was extremely emotional, Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health said,
“The issue needs to be resolved once and for all. I assure hon. Members that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and I continue to work towards that vital aim. I have said that however late Penrose reports, we will respond while the House is sitting. Inevitably, that will have to be an interim response… …I will take away everything that has been said, and as long as I am in my current office, I will continue to work to bring to Parliament the conclusion that so many Members have said they want.”
Haemophilia Scotland is extremely grateful to Alistair Burt MP, the members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood – especially its Co-Chairs Jason McCartney MP and Diana Johnson MP, and all the other MPs who have worked on this issue for many years.
Thanks, again, to our friends at Tainted Blood, you can now watch the whole debate on YouTube.