Report due on contaminated blood scandal

A WIDOW whose haemophiliac husband died after receiving contaminated blood will today learn the results of an independent inquiry.

dynamic panel: Carol Grayson

A WIDOW whose haemophiliac husband died after receiving contaminated blood will today learn the results of an independent inquiry.

Determined Carol Grayson has continued to search for answers following the death of her partner Peter Longstaff in 2005 amid a 19-year campaign led by families of those affected.

Later today former Solicitor General Lord Archer of Sandwell will release his long-awaited report into the inquiry, set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the supply of contaminated NHS blood and blood products to patients.

Previous investigations into use of blood, some of which was imported from American prisons, have been branded “whitewashes” by families who watched relatives die from viruses to which they were exposed.

Ms Grayson, 49, Jesmond, Newcastle, completed her own research on the scandal – exposed by The Journal’s own Bad Blood campaign – which was submitted as evidence.

The former nurse said although the report has no legal jurisdiction it was important that lessons would be learned.

She said: “It will be the first opportunity we will get to see what recommendations are in the report. I’m reasonably optimistic, it will highlight particular issues. We hope there will be something done for the injustice that has gone on for years.

“We are hoping for an official apology as one of the recommendations for the Department of Health. It’s hugely important to haemophiliacs and the families of those who have died.”

The report is expected to be submitted to the Department of Health after it has been released.

Ms Grayson also hopes that a decision-making body will be set up to include representatives from the haemophiliac community into the blood supply to patients.

The Department of Health has repeatedly refused to hold a full public inquiry into what has been described as “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”.

Mr Longstaff’s death in 2005, at the age of 47, came 19 years after his brother Stephen, also a haemophiliac, died after being infected with HIV which he contracted from blood products collected in America.

He was one of 1,757 haemophiliacs believed to have fallen victim to contaminated blood.

Last night Ms Grayson, of St George’s Terrace, praised The Journal for launching it’s Bad Blood Campaign in 2000 which she said was “instrumental” in helping the inquiry to be heard.

She said: “The Journal has been absolutely key, if it wasn’t for the Bad Blood Campaign then it wouldn’t have been possible and I’m hugely grateful. There are definitely lessons to be learned, to ensure that we are doing the best possible thing is being done for the safety of our national blood supply.

“The sad thing is that even while the public inquiry got underway there were a number of deaths in our community, people who won’t get to see this. It’s really important to learn lessons from the past.”

Last night a Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We have great sympathy for the patients and families affected by contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s, and will study the findings of Lord Archer’s report in detail when we receive it.”

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