Thousands of British patients were administered various blood products which contained HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s.
The group who have been instrumental in pushing for an inquest into the scandal are called ‘Haemophilia Scotland’, and they are adamant that the majority of those who were affected by these products, and their families were never made aware of any potential risks.
Bill Wright, of Haemophilia Scotland, told the BBC: "After many years, we very much welcome a UK-wide inquiry. We've waited literally decades for this to happen.” He said: “ However, there are a lot of details that are yet to be determined, such as how it's going to be conducted, where it's going to be held, what it's going to look at - and when it's going to start and how long it might last."
A recent Parliamentary report concluded that as many as 7,500 patients were infected as a result of using imported blood products. Many of these patients have an inherited bleeding disorder known as Haemophilia. People with this disorder must go through regular treatments with a clotting agent called Factor VIII, which is made from donated blood.
The problems first surfaced when the UK imported supplies, which it was later discovered, were infected,. Most of the plasma that was used to make Factor VIII had come from donors such as prison inmates in the United States, who had agreed to sell their blood samples.
The Primrose Enquiry
This is not the first time there has been an investigation into blood contamination in Scotland either. It was called the Primrose enquiry and its findings were published two years ago. The results said that “very little could have been done differently.”
Surprisingly only one recommendation was put forward. It stated that anyone in Scotland who had received a blood transfusion before 1991 should be tested for Hepatitis C, if they have not done so already.
Many people who had lost relatives had waited six years to learn the findings. There was a small gathering outside of the National museum in Edinburgh, and many of these relatives chanted the word ‘Whitewash’ as the findings were read out.
Those people in 2015, as well as those who follow the Haemophilia Scotland group strongly believe that there was a cover-up and that no lessons have been learnt from the previous enquiry. They urged that no further mistakes are made during or after the second investigation.
Images sourced from Wikimedia Commons