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Infected blood scandal: Who did it affect

Labelled the "worst treatment disaster in the NHS", the infected blood scandal saw more than 30,000 people infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being treated with contaminated blood products.

It happened in the 1970s and 1980s, and after decades of campaiging for justice, victims and their families will finally get answers in a milestone report out on Monday after a six year long inquiry.

Here, ITV News explains everything you need to know about the infected blood scandal.

What was the infected blood scandal?

Between 1970 and 1991 it's thought up to 30,000 people were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after they were treated with contaminated blood.

The UK started making breakthrough treatments for conditions like haemophilia, which was made from donated blood.

But there wasn't enough capacity to meet demand for the new drugs, which meant lots of blood needed to be donated from the US.

In the US, donors were paid to give their blood, and were often prisoners and drug addicts, many of whom had deadly viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C.

The blood donated was then pooled together to make the drugs, which meant entire batches were often contaminated.

There were numerous warnings about the imported blood and the risks, but the UK was unable to produce the amounts of blood it needed, so carried on importing it from abroad.

Patients also say they weren't properly warned about the dangers of the products.

One shocking case saw boys with haeomophilia tested on with the products without their knowledge.

Eighty haemophiliacs at Treolar's Boy's School, in Hampshire, were given infected blood products as part of their treatment, and only 16 are still alive today.

There were 50 boys enrolled in a trial of a blood product made in the US, while neither they nor their parents were informed they were part of the trial.

Those affected by the scandal are split into two groups.

The first group are people with haemophilia - experts believe 1,250 people contracted HIV and Hepatitis C.

Two thirds then died of AIDS related illnesses, with an unknown amount transferring HIV to their partners.

The second group were those given blood transfusions after childbirth or surgery - 27,000 of whom were infected with Hepatitis C.

Those who have campaigned for justice over the scandal include not only victims themselves, but also their families - many of whom had their lives ruined because of the deaths of their parents.

In total, more than 3,000 people are known to have died. The Haemophilia Society also estimates that between the start of the inquiry and the publishing of its findings, another 650 will have also passed away.

Campaign group Factor 8 say one victim dies every four days.

There are also an estimated 98 deaths since the inquiry recommended everyone get immediate compenation last April.

The public inquiry into the infected blood scandal began in 2018, after being launched by former prime minister Theresa May.

It's heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents. The key questions to be answered are: who knew what and when, and where the responsibilities for the scandal lie.

Some of the witnesses include senior politicians - including former prime minister Sir John Major, current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and former health secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham.

Multiple key documents in government archives are either missing or were destroyed, which has led some campaigners to suggest there was an attempt to cover up the scandal.

The inquiry's final report had been expected in autumn last year, but the chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, said he needed more time to prepare "a report of this gravity".

Many of those who were infected had to give up their jobs and live on benefits because of health problems.

In July 2022, Sir Brian made his first formal recommendation that victims should be given interim compensation payments of £100,000 each.

There were 4,000 eligible survivors and families who received the payments.

It's estimated the cost of compensation will run into billions, somewhere between £4 billion and £20 billion.

Earlier this month, ITV News reported that some victims had been updated on the timeline for compensation, after ministers agreed to a three-month deadline to establish an official scheme.

The government's official response to the scandal since the launch of the inquiry is that it was "an appalling tragedy that should never have happened", however no-one has ever accepted responsibility for the tragedy.


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